Outbreak of bird flu widens to dairy farms in New Mexico, Kansas and Ohio

by | Apr 4, 2024

Bird flu has been reported to have infected a dairy herd in Ohio for the first time, with additional cases detected in herds in Kansas and New Mexico, as per the U.S. government. This outbreak has prompted concerns about potential risks to humans.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has verified infections in herds across six states since the initial cases were reported in Texas and Kansas on March 25.

The head of the World Organization for Animal Health stated on Thursday that the spread of avian flu to an increasing number of species and its expanding geographic reach have heightened the risk of human infection.

Texas officials disclosed on Monday that a farm worker had tested positive for bird flu, with the only symptom being eye inflammation. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assesses the risk of bird flu for humans as low.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture stated that the infected dairy in Ohio received cows on March 8 from a Texas dairy, which subsequently confirmed a detection of bird flu. The USDA has acknowledged that transmission of the disease between cows cannot be ruled out.

The USDA has indicated that the initial cases in Texas and Kansas seem to have been introduced by wild birds. Additionally, the strain of the virus detected in subsequent cases in New Mexico, Michigan, and Idaho was found to be very similar.

Since 2022, migratory birds have been responsible for spreading avian flu worldwide, infecting poultry and various other species.

Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith stated in an interview on Thursday that in the state of Kansas, all available genetic sequencing data continues to indicate that it is a spillover event resulting from exposure to wild birds.

According to the USDA, bird flu has been detected in three dairy herds in Kansas, two in New Mexico, seven in Texas, and one each in Ohio, Idaho, and Michigan.

Source: Reuters



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