Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in Wyoming Dairy Herd

by Andy Schwab

The Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) have received confirmation from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) of the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a dairy cattle herd in Wyoming. The detection was first identified in samples received by the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in a dairy farm in Wyoming.

“The Wyoming Livestock Board encourages all dairy producers to closely monitor their herd and contact their herd veterinarian immediately if their cattle appear symptomatic,” Said Hallie Hasel, Wyoming State Veterinarian. “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.”

Symptoms of HPAI in cattle include a drop 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.  

Dairies are required to ensure only milk from healthy animals enter the food chain. Additionally, 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). There is currently no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health.

“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,” said Doug Miyamoto, Director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. “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.

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WDA – 2024

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