Cows Infected with Bird Flu Have Died in Five US States

Bird flu has caused the death of cows in five U.S. states, as reported by state officials and academics. The affected states are South Dakota, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, and Colorado. This news highlights that bird flu, usually associated with poultry, can also infect and seriously harm cows, leading farmers to unexpected financial losses.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated that while some have died from bird flu, most recover from the virus. However, the exact number of cows that have died or been culled in these states remains unclear.

Since late March, this flu has affected dairy cows in over 80 herds across ten states. Secondary infections developed after it weakened the immune systems of some cows, leading to their death. Farmers culled other that failed to recover from the virus.

Cows infected with it show symptoms such as reduced milk production, digestive issues, fever, and loss of appetite. In South Dakota, a dairy farm with 1,700 cows had to cull 24 cows due to bird flu and secondary infections, according to Russ Daly, a veterinarian and professor at South Dakota State University.

In Michigan, a farm had to cull about 20 of its 200 infected cows because they did not recover, as reported by Phil Durst from Michigan State University Extension. Michigan has seen more such infections in cattle than any other state and has also reported two cases of dairy workers contracting bird flu.

Virus Also Hits Ohio, Texas

In Colorado, some dairy farms have culled cows that did not return to milk production after being infected, according to Olga Robak from the state Department of Agriculture. Ohio and Texas have also reported cow deaths due to secondary infections caused by this disease.

New Mexico’s state veterinarian, Samantha Uhrig, stated that farmers initially culled cows due to decreased milk production before confirming bird flu infections in cattle. Farmers reduced culling once they learned that most gradually recovered from the virus.

Also Read: Bird Flu Found in Western China as US Battles Cattle Outbreak

The USDA found bird-flu virus particles in the beef tissue of one cow sent for slaughter, but the meat did not enter the food supply. They also confirmed that ground beef samples from retail stores contained no virus and that cooking ground beef effectively eliminates the virus.

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