Due to Concerns About the Bird Flu, the USDA is Starting Monday to Require All Cattle to Be Tested

Due to Concerns About the Bird Flu, the USDA is Starting Monday to Require All Cattle to Be Tested

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois — Since the H5N1 Bird Flu virus has been found in 8 U.S. states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is making tests for dairy herds a must.

The USDA says that the testing is required for dairy cattle moving between states and that good results must be reported. The testing starts on Monday, April 29th.

The FDA said on Friday that one out of every five samples of retail milk had a virus in it. The samples came from 33 cows in Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Ohio, and Texas.

William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, says that pasteurization should kill the virus, so people shouldn’t worry too much about getting milk from the store.

“The safety of our milk supply and the people who work with cattle and poultry in Illinois is a top priority,” said Dr. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Please note that pasteurized milk is safe, but because of the chance of infection, Illinoisans should stay away from any unpasteurized raw milk products right now.

Illinois State Veterinarian Dr. Mark Ernst said, “We don’t have any confirmed cases in Illinois, but we have seen that dairy animals in other states that have been infected are getting better with very low death rates.” Out of an abundance of caution, these extra safety rules are being put in place, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that the risk to people is low.

According to the IDPH, they will be working with partner organizations and producer groups to teach vets and cattle farmers about the symptoms of H5N1 flu so that possible infections can be found quickly and stopped.

The USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service says that there are more than 600 dairy farms in Illinois with 73,000 cows or kids.

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