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Bird flu found in dairy cows - WI farmers on alert
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/02/2024

Recent reports have identified a concerning development - highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) affecting dairy cow herds in Texas, Kansas, and Michigan. This strain, primarily transmitted by migratory birds, appears to target cows later in their lactation cycle. Infected animals exhibit decreased activity and milk production, alongside potential dehydration and fever.

However, consumers can rest assured that the food supply remains safe. Pasteurization and proper cooking effectively mitigate any risk associated with HPAI in dairy and meat products.

Keith Poulsen, a zoonotic disease expert from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, emphasizes positive news for Wisconsin. The state's poultry flocks haven't shown signs of the virus thus far. Nevertheless, vigilance remains crucial. Farms that send animals to warmer climates for raising should monitor them closely upon return.

Wisconsin dairy farmers are advised to be attentive to potential signs in their herds. These include reduced activity, a noticeable thickening and yellowing of milk, and elevated body temperatures in cows. Early detection is paramount. If such symptoms are observed, immediate contact with a herd veterinarian is essential.

Prompt action allows for swift implementation of necessary farm management changes and dissemination of updated public awareness information. This collaborative effort minimizes the potential spread of the virus within dairy farms and safeguards public health.

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