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Case definition published for avian flu in cattle
Image: a chicken wandering by cattle
The UK government has said that it is monitoring the situation in the USA.
APHA adds definition following cases in US herds.

The UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its case definition and diagnostic testing criteria for highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in mammals, following the spread of the virus among dairy cattle in the USA.

A new suspect case definition has been added for cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. The criteria include the animal being on a farm, or near a location, where avian flu has been detected, and, for dairy animals, a sudden unexplained drop in herd level milk production.

Since March 2024, several cases of avian flu have been detected in cattle herds in the USA. So far, it has been confirmed in nine states. Cattle being transported between states are now being tested for the virus.

In April, the US Department of Agriculture stated that evidence suggested that cattle-to-cattle transmission was taking place.

Although there is currently no evidence of the virus affecting cattle in the UK, the UK government has said that it is taking the outbreak in the USA very seriously. The new case definition will help APHA to monitor, triage and, when necessary, test any report cases that arise.

A government spokesperson said: “We are monitoring reports of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) identified in dairy cattle in the USA and are working closely with international counterparts to better understand the virus strain associated with these cases.

“This does not change the risk level for animals in the UK, which is currently ‘low’ and we have no reason to suspect the virus is circulating in our cattle and nor is this virus strain circulating in Europe.”

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.