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North Carolina becomes eighth state with Avian Flu in dairy cows

Sources include the USDA, CDC and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

April 11, 2024 - The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDAC) recently announced that tests have confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in one of the state's dairy herds, raising the number of affected states to eight.

Officials didn't detail the potential source of the virus but said movements of cattle from earlier affected states have been suspended.

The NCDAC said testing was conducted by the US Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

Across US, more than 20 herds have been affected

Steve Troxler, North Carolina's agriculture commissioner, said, "This is an evolving situation, and we are waiting for more diagnostics from NVSL and will work collaboratively with our federal partners and dairy farmers in North Carolina."

He said animal health officials in the state have spent years developing steps to manage HPAI in poultry. "But this is new, and we are working with our state and federal partners to develop protocols to handle this situation."

Meanwhile, the number of dairy herds in previously affected states continues to grow, with the total now at 21. Among other recent detections, Michigan now has a second positive herd, along with more detections on farms in Texas and New Mexico.

In addition to North Carolina, 17 other states have tightened their cattle import rules to varying degrees.

In numerous states, dairy producers are encouraged to enforce their biosecurity plans such as limiting visitors, separating new animals and sick animals, and cleaning pens, equipment, vehicles, clothing, footwear, and hands.

The Food and Drug Administration indicates there are no concerns that the situation poses a risk to consumer health or the safety of interstate commercial milk supplies. Marv Post, Chairman of South Dakota Dairy Producers says “USDA continues to emphasize that pasteurization kills the virus and that milk and dairy products are safe to consume.”


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