Farm Progress

Farm Progress America, April 8, 2024

Mike Pearson gives listeners an update on the recent HPAI outbreak in dairy cattle and poultry.

April 8, 2024

Mike Pearson tells listeners how over the past week, the highly contagious bird flu has made it's presence known in livestock markets.

As more dairies in additional states and poultry facilities report more cases and one human has been confirmed with the virus.

Animal health experts have had a busy two weeks since the first cases were documented in dairies. The first confirmation in a domestic dairy herd was reported March 26. Now, additional cases have been found in Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Idaho, Michigan and Ohio.

Testing for the initial cause is still underway but many animal experts believe wild birds are to blame. Experts feel the spread was either food or the water supply. Although on one farm, several cats were infected with the virus.

It's a reminder to dairy producers to keep non-producing animals out of barns.

Once infected, dairy cattle show low food intake, low-grade fever, reduced rumen functionality and substantial declines in milk production. The infected cattle do recover. However during the 10 days of infection, milk production declines by 40 percent and the milk can not go into the supply. The milk must be destroyed.

The USDA and FDA assured the public in a statement that there is no threat to the public health and do not believe there will be enough of an impact to move prices higher.

There has been no confirmation of HPAI in the American cattle supply, however cattle markets took a tumble after a human was confirmed with the illness. It was a Texas dairy employee.

So far, the fears of HPAI spreading in humans appears to be overblown.

Testing of the virus does not show any signs of the virus changing to be transmissible among humans.

The only symptom, the dairy employee showed was Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye and was told to isolate.

As the weather warms up and wild birds continue to fly north, HPAI will spread.

There is no proof if transmission of birds to humans or cattle to humans. This also means the milk and meat supply remains safe.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Mike Pearson, farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

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