Minnesota ID‘s first case of avian influenza in a dairy herd

Published 1:47 pm Thursday, June 6, 2024

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By Kristi Marohn

A first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Minnesota dairy cows has been confirmed in a central Minnesota herd, state animal health officials said Thursday.

A Benton County farmer noticed signs of illness in a few cows last weekend. By the next day, more than 40 cows showed signs of fever, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health said in a statement.

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The risk to the public from this virus “remains low at this time,” although “people who work with or have direct contact with infected animals could be at risk of getting sick,” the agency added. The Benton County herd will be quarantined for 30 days with the milk from sick cows disposed.

Pasteurized dairy products remain safe to consume, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends people who work with sick or potentially infected animals wear personal protective equipment. Officials have reported similar cases in Michigan and Texas.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before this detection would reach our doorstep,” State Veterinarian Dr. Brian Hoefs said in a statement. He said it’s important for farmers to monitor their herds and test sick cows.