Avian flu infects more dairy cows in Michigan

aerial cows

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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) today said highly pathogenic avian flu has been detected again in dairy cows, this time hitting another herd in Ottawa County.

The latest report pushes the state's total to 23 farms across 10 counties. The MDARD said samples from the cows were positive in testing at the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and that samples will be sent to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Lab for additional confirmation.

The USDA yesterday added 2 more H5N1 outbreaks to its total yesterday—additional confirmations from Idaho and Michigan—raising the national total to 69 in nine states.

More response funds, new option for bulk milk testing

In related developments, the USDA yesterday announced an additional $824 million in emergency funding from the Commodity Credit Corporation to bolster efforts to better understand and contain the virus.

The new funding targets multiple activities, ranging from the development of diagnostics to field response activities to research on vaccines against highly pathogenic avian flu for cattle, turkeys, pigs, and goats.

Also, the agency announced the launch of a new voluntary H5N1 dairy herd status pilot program to give dairy farmers more ways to monitor the health of their herds, as well to ship cows faster while providing ongoing testing and information for the USDA.

The USDA said the main benefit for farmers who enroll in the program is that, once they show their herds are free of H5N1, they can conduct weekly tests on bulk milk to confirm the status. Also, animals in herds with negative bulk milk tests for 3 weeks in a row can be moved without additional pre-movement testing. 

Sites in 3 states test high for influenza A in wastewater

Over the past 2 weeks, five sites (2%) from three states were at a high level for influenza A detections in wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its latest update. A total of 288 of 741 sites met reporting criteria. 

Three sites in Oregon were at the high level: Jackson, Lane, and Lincoln counties. Other sites at the high level were in Illinois (Adams County) and Kansas (Saline County).

The CDC launched influenza A wastewater tracking in the middle of May as part of its surveillance for H5N1 avian flu. It emphasized that influenza A monitoring of wastewater doesn't determine the subtype or source, but might serve as a warning on where H5N1 might be circulating. 

In an update on its H5N1 surveillance page, the CDC said systems show no indicators of unusual activity.

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