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Avian Flu Found in Texas, Kansas Dairy Cow

Photo: AP

A concerning development unfolds as dairy farms in Texas and Kansas detect cows infected with a contagious strain of bird flu. Described as an "unprecedented development" by Texan farming authorities, this revelation has prompted swift action from agricultural agencies. Sid Miller, the Texas agriculture commissioner, emphasizes that state and national bodies are working diligently to safeguard the integrity of the food supply chain.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Miller reassures the public that while troubling, the outbreak is not anticipated to jeopardize the nation's commercial dairy production. Texas, recognized as one of the top five milk-producing states in the U.S., underscores the significance of this development within the dairy industry.

According to the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), tests conducted on the virus reveal no alterations that would enhance its transmissibility to humans. As a result, the risk to public health is deemed minimal. However, authorities remain vigilant and continue epidemiological investigations to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation.

The TDA confirms that positive samples were obtained from unpasteurized milk collected from dairy farms in Kansas and Texas. Analysis validated these findings on March 25. While high pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has not been detected in beef cattle, farmers are urged to implement enhanced biosecurity measures to protect their herds.

In collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other relevant agencies, efforts are underway to monitor symptoms primarily among older dairy cows in Texas, Kansas, and New Mexico. This collective response underscores the commitment to proactive measures aimed at mitigating the impact of the outbreak and ensuring the safety of both livestock and consumers.

March 28, 2024 1:38 p.m. 4967

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