Bird flu found in South Dakota dairy herd

By Staff
2 Min Read

A South Dakota dairy herd has tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza for the first time, growing the number of states with livestock affected by the virus to eight.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the positive test results earlier this week as several states restrict dairy cattle imports to prevent the spread of avian influenza in livestock.

South Dakota dairy producers are encouraged to closely monitor their herds and contact a veterinarian if cattle appear symptomatic, Marv Post, chairman of the South Dakota Dairy Producers, said in a statement Thursday.

“USDA continues to emphasize that pasteurization kills the virus and that milk and dairy products are safe to consume,” Post said.

As researchers learn more about the H5N1 strain and how it’s spreading to dairy cattle, the effects appear to be non-lethal and treatable.

About eight cows got sick from the virus last week at a dairy farm in Cassia County, Idaho, after being transported there from Texas, Boise State Public Radio reported.

The affected animals produced less milk, which had a thicker consistency than usual, and have since been isolated and treated for the virus.

“They seem to be on the upswing,” Rick Naerebout, CEO of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, told the radio station. “They are nearly a week now without symptomatic cattle and their feed intake and milk production has bounced back to normal, and so it appears everything is headed in the right direction.”

The USDA is tracking cases of avian influenza in dairy herds across multiple states. Since Tuesday, there has been a new detection in Texas, North Carolina, New Mexico and South Dakota, as of April 12.

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