"U.S. Requires More Dairy Cows Tested For Bird Flu As Viral Concerns Grow"

"Dairy cows must be tested for bird flu before moving across state lines under a federal order to be issued Wednesday, as evidence mounts the virus is more widespread than feared among cows in the United States.

Biden administration officials said the move is meant to contain transmission of the virus known as H5N1 and to reduce the threat to livestock, but they maintained that the risk to humans remains low. The outbreak has drawn public health concerns because it marks the first time bird flu has moved to cows, and greater transmission in mammals increases the risk that the virus could spread more easily in humans.

Mike Watson, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says every lactating dairy cow must be tested before moving across state lines. Positive test results would trigger additional requirements for herd owners to disclose information, including the movement of animals, to aid epidemiologic investigations and to report cases to the USDA.He said the order could help overcome reluctance from some milk producers to allow testing in their herds. The cost of mandatory testing would be reimbursed by the agency."

Fenit Nirappil and Lena H. Sun report for the Washington Post April 24, 2024.

Source: Washington Post, 04/25/2024