No cases of Avian Flu in livestock, people detected in state

While a multi-state spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza has been detected in livestock and one human throughout the last few months, no cases have yet to be reported in New York state.

Following a continuing global outbreak of the virus in poultry and wild birds in 2022, a multi-state outbreak of Avian Influenza found in dairy cattle was first reported by the United States Department of Agriculture at the end of March. Since then, cases have also been detected in goats and one human in Texas.

The human in Texas was working with infected animals at the time and is the only case found in humans besides someone in Colorado in 2022. No cattle have yet been reported having the virus in New York state, but since 2022 it has been detected in the state in wild birds, domesticpoultry, and wild mammals. Current affected states include; Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota and Idaho.

According to the USDA and the FDA, pasteurized milk and dairy products remain safe to consume as pasteurization kills harmful microbes and pathogens in milk and there is also no concern regarding the consumption of properly cooked meat products. Based on current information, the FDA and USDA have indicated that the commercial milk supply is safe because of both the pasteurization process, which has served public health well for more than 100 years, and that milk from sick cows is being diverted or destroyed. It is recommended that people should not eat or drink raw milk or products made with raw milk, as choosing pasteurized milk is the best way to keep people safe.

As of the beginning of May the CDC is working to get personal protective equipment out to farmers, prioritizing those with infected animals.

Locally, Michael Faulk, Chautauqua County’s Chief Medical Officer, said the public health risk for people in the United States remains low.

“While the current public health risk is low and there is no current cause for panic, CDC is watching the situation carefully and working with states to monitor people with animal exposures,” Faulk said. “This is a rapidly changing situation, and CDC is committed to providing frequent and timely updates.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension has also been monitoring the situation and what it might mean for local farmers.

“As of May 22, 2024, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or H5N1 in dairy cattle has now been detected in nine states with 51 dairy herds affected,” Lisa Kempisty, Extension Educator for Dairy and Livestock with CCE, said. “NYS does not currently have any herds detected with H5N1. Dairy producers should develop, update, and follow a biosecurity plan to continue to protect their animals and farm workers. They should work closely with their dairy farm’s herd veterinarian and milk quality control representative or Certified Milk Inspector.”

Kempisty said they can also reach out to her at 716-664-9502 Ext 203 for more information.

Additionally, Kempisty said farms should review the documents they have prepared for their National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management, or FARM Program, especially the biosecurity details. She recommended dairy farmers contact their herd veterinarian with any questions about the disease in dairy cattle or to learn about current state and federal requirements for transporting cattle in the state, or between states for importing and exporting.


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