Bird flu in US cows

It was recently announced that some American farms have detected dairy cows infected with bird flubeing the first time that this disease has been detected in dairy cattle and the second time in a ruminant, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association in this article in his web page. The presence of the disease in cows has generated concern about dairy consumption and milk, but regulatory agencies assure that there is no risk to the health of consumers.

Generally, the bird flu infects birds, whether wild (migratory and aquatic) or free-range, but this virus also can infect mammals, especially those that can consume birds, such as wild or domestic animals (dogs and cats). Although not common, the virus can also infect humans due to prolonged exposure to birds, handling sick or dead birds that were infected by bird flu, etc.

The strain detected is the one called H5N1 and it is present in both the meat and milk of animals, is highly pathogenic and is believed to have spread to at least five states in the country, Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Idaho and New Mexico. He CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) comments that the risk for the population is low, remembering that human infections that occurred in the past were due to exposure to poultry infected, sick or dead. On the other hand, they confirm that the detected strain does not include any changes that make it more transmissible to human beings.

It is considered that the infection of the cows from bird flu Although worrying, it is not expected to threaten the commercial supply of dairy products and it is stressed that it should not affect consumers. In fact, regulatory agencies assure that the commercial supply of dairy products in the country is safe and there is no need to withdraw any consignment of milk from the market, and the reason is that dairies must divert or destroy milk from affected cattle, using only milk from healthy cows for human consumption.

In the event that a batch of contaminated milk enters the production chain, the pasteurization or other superior technology will eliminate bacteria and viruses, including those of avian flu. For its part, the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) warns that there is limited information on the transmission of avian flu in unpasteurized raw milk, which is why the agency recalls that it has long recommended avoid raw milk due to the possible presence of pathogenic microorganisms, a recommendation also made by the CDC.

Flu or avian influenza of the H5N1 strain in dairy cows

Let us remember that more and more people prefer raw milk consumptionalways under their responsibility and due to erroneous beliefs, such as that it is more natural and healthier milk, and this occurs in countries where they have begun to relax legislation regarding food safety on milk and dairy products. By the way, according to the CDC, consumption of raw milk increases the chances of suffering from a foodborne illness by up to 840 times and the chances of hospitalization by 45 times.

He USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), the FDA and the CDC, reaffirm that they are not concerned about the safety of the commercial milk supply or that infection poses a health risk to consumers. They also ensure that the loss of milk from sick cows is insignificant and will not affect the commercial supply, that is, in theory the Bird flu outbreak should not affect milk prices and derived dairy products.

The fact is that the problem reveals the importance of faithfully following the biosafety measuressurveillance in the monitoring of diseases and the immediate participation of veterinarians when any disease is suspected, as considered by the American Veterinary Medical Association.


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