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New Information Concerning Dairy Cattle and Avian Influenza

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Dairy Cattle:

  • Early 2024- An unknown milk drop syndrome was identified in adult, mid- to late-lactation dairy cattle in the Texas panhandle area, and later affected dairies in Kansas and New Mexico.
  • March 25, 2024 – Cattle on a Texas dairy were confirmed with the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus that has been circulating in poultry and wild birds in the United States since 2022.  Since then, numerous dairies across many states have tested positive for HPAI.
  • Infected animals show a severe drop in rumination, feed intake, and milk production. Milk appears thick, discolored, and clumpy. Unlike other species affected by HPAI, dairy cattle do not die, but recover in health and some milk production over the course of weeks.
  • It appears that all the cases in dairy have spread from 1 initially infected farm. The route of spread could be via milk, animal movement (even those that are not showing illness), people and equipment.
  • April 24, 2024 – USDA issued a federal order stating that milk from lactating dairy cattle must test negative for HPAI before those cows cross state lines.

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