Bird Flu in Dairy Cows Reported for First Time in Minnesota

By Jace Dela Cruz

Jun 07, 2024 06:59 AM EDT

Minnesota has reported its first case of bird flu in dairy cows as the virus spreads across the US. According to Reuters, over 80 herds in 11 states have been affected since late March, and three dairy workers have already tested positive. 

Holstein Cattle Cows

(Photo : Cally Lawson from Pixabay)

Minnesota Reports First Bird Flu Case in Dairy Cows

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced that a farmer in Benson County noticed over 40 cows with fever symptoms. Lab tests conducted on Monday confirmed the presence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza, also known as the bird flu, H5N1, or HPAI, by Wednesday night.

Bird flu is a highly contagious virus that can be transmitted from wild birds to domestic poultry and other animals. According to state veterinarian Brian Hoefs, the infected cows are now recovering.

The sick cows' milk was eventually discarded, and the entire herd will be quarantined for 30 days to prevent further spread. If no new cases are detected, the herd will be retested after this period to lift the quarantine.

READ NEXT: Worst Bird Flu Hits US as Iowa Egg Farm Prompted to Kill 4.2 Million Chickens 

Bird Flu in the US

This case marks the first confirmed avian flu infection in Minnesota dairy cattle. Hoefs predicted that more farms would conduct tests following this announcement and that testing would increase in the coming weeks.

Other states with reported cases include Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas. The outbreak has prompted calls for heightened vigilance and testing among dairy farmers to control the spread of the virus. 

READ MORE: US, Europe Move Closer to Vaccinating Poultry and Dairy Workers Against Bird Flu

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