Grassley says Iowa better prepared for HPAI after previous outbreaks

by | Apr 2, 2024 | 5 Ag Stories, News

On Monday a Texas dairy worker tested positive for avian flu after contracting the illness that has sickened dairy cattle across several U.S. states. The human case follows recent cow infections in Texas, Idaho, Michigan and New Mexico.

The virus appears to have been introduced into the cattle by wild migratory birds. HPAI historically affects birds but has also been documented in cats, skunks, and foxes in the past.

On Tuesday during his weekly ag conference call with farm broadcasters and reporters United States Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was asked if he is confident in the biosecurity measures in place to protect livestock and Iowa residents from bird flu.

Grassley says lessons learned from previous avian flu outbreaks infecting commercial bird flocks has Iowa better prepared if another outbreak occurs.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service released the following statement regarding HPAI found in dairy cattle.

“Because of the limited information available about the transmission of HPAI in raw milk, the FDA recommends that industry does not manufacture or sell raw milk or raw/unpasteurized milk cheese products made with milk from cows showing symptoms of illness, including those infected with avian influenza or exposed to those infected with avian influenza. At this time, the FDA is not aware that any milk or dairy product from symptomatic cows is entering interstate commerce.”

USDA has stated that initial testing has not found changes to the virus that would make it easier to transmit to humans. The illness is mild and the dairy worker who contracted avian flu in Texas is expected to fully recover.