Bird Flu in Dairy Cows Sparks Worry and Warnings in U.S.

Bird flu found in dairy cows is causing worry
Bird flu found in dairy cows is causing worry. Credit | REUTERS

United States: Since bird flu was found in dairy cows on March 25, scientists have been studying it a lot. Farmers are worried and trying to protect their cows and learn how the virus spreads.

Expert Opinions and Warnings

As reported by Food Safety News, People are being warned not to drink raw milk because it could have the bird flu virus. This week, Scott Hensley, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said the risk of a pandemic is low right now, but it could get worse quickly.

That was a little more better than last month’s prediction by former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director  Robert Redfield that it’s only  a matter of time before humans are caught up in a bird flu pandemic. He said “bird flu will enter humans” and that it could have “ significant mortality.”

Scientific Findings

As it turns out, the mammary glands of dairy cows, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison report in the July 8th journal Nature, are targets for the H5N1 avian virus. 

The findings may not be limited to dairy cows. A bird flu virus from an infected person in 2004 also made it to the mouse and ferret mammary glands.

Additional experiments found that the virus wasn’t very effective at spreading through the air.

With the immediate impact on commercial poultry and dairy cows, Colorado was the center for Bird flu over the recent Independence Day weekend. On July 3, another farm worker was reported infected with bird flu, which is linked to dairy cows.

Impact and Response

From the year 2022 the CDC has reported five human bird flu cases

This is all based on the information available at this time, the CDC’s current H5N1 bird flu human health risk assessment for the U.S. general public remains low,” CDC’s official statement continues to state.

Also, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis did not get through the July 4th Weekend before being forced to declare a disaster for a Weld County farm. Bird flu at the egg-laying farm is killing another 1.8 million chickens—a major resurgence of bird flu on a commercial farm that lost 6 million birds to the virus.

The Governor’s declaration activates the state’s emergency operation plan and makes additional resources available for the response.