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Avian Influenza Identified in Wyoming Dairy Herd

Dairy cows

The Wyoming Livestock Board and Wyoming Department of Agriculture announced a herd of dairy cattle in Wyoming tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The results were confirmed by the Wyoming State Laboratory and marks the first case in dairy cattle in the state.

Symptoms of HPAI in cattle can include a drop in in milk production, loss of appetite, changes in manure consistency, thickened or colostrum-like milk, and low-grade fever. Producers are encouraged to practice good biosecurity on their farms such as limiting visitors and excluding any wild birds or animals from the dairy. 

“The Wyoming Livestock Board encourages all dairy producers to closely monitor their herd and contact their herd veterinarian immediately if their cattle appear symptomatic,” Wyoming State Veterinarian, Hallie Hasel said. “The primary concern with this diagnosis is on-dairy production losses, as the disease has been associated with decreased milk production. The risk to cattle is minimal and the risk to human health remains very low.”

Dairies are required to ensure only milk from healthy animals enter the food chain and currently, there is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health. The pasteurization process of heating milk to a high temperature ensures milk and dairy products can be safely consumed, as confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Consuming raw dairy products, those that are unpasteurized, can lead to a number of foodborne illnesses including campylobacter, E. coli, salmonella and listeria, which can be particularly harmful to those who are pregnant or immunocompromised.

“USDA, CDC and other agencies continue to emphasize that pasteurization kills bacteria and viruses, like influenza, and that these milk and dairy products are safe to consume,” Doug Miyamoto, Director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture said. “This is a very low risk to human health and the WDA will continue our normal regulatory efforts of the commercial dairy industry in Wyoming to help ensure the continued safety of the dairy products under inspection.”

The WDA and WLSB have been, and will continue to coordinate with federal and state partners to monitor this emerging issue.

For more information on HPAI, we encourage you to visit the following websites.

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/livestock-poultry-disease/avian/avian-influenza/hpai-detections/livestock

https://www.fda.gov/food/alerts-advisories-safety-information/updates-highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza-hpai

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/hpai/hpai-interim-recommendations.html