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Avian flu may be spreading between cattle in USA
Remnants of the virus have been found in samples of pasteurised milk.
Herds in eight states have tested positive for the virus.

The H5N1 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza may be spreading between cattle, the United States Department of Agriculture has warned.

Since March, the virus has been detected in cattle herds in eight states, including Texas and New Mexico in the south, North Carolina on the east coast, and Idaho in the west. Affected cattle have displayed clinical signs including decreased lactation, low appetite, lethargy, fever, and dehydration.

In a statement answering frequently asked questions, the department said that while it is believed that cattle first caught the virus from wild migratory birds, ‘the investigation to date also includes some cases where the virus spread was associated with cattle movements between herds.’

The department also said that there is evidence that in some cases the virus may have spread from dairy cattle premises into nearby poultry premises ‘through an unknown route’.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has revealed that remnants of the virus have been found in samples of pasteurised milk. However, it has said that there is not believed to be any risk to humans, stating:
To date, we have seen nothing that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe.’

Since the outbreak in cattle began, there has been one confirmed case in a human. A dairy worker in Texas who had been in contact with infected cattle tested positive and is recovering after being treated with an antiviral drug.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) has said that it is closely monitoring the recent cases in cattle. In a statement, WOAH said: ‘Timely and transparent reporting is crucial to maintain a good understanding of the disease situation and prevent any type of misinformation or disinformation.’

Image © Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.