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USDA sets new testing rules for dairy cattle health


The USDA has taken a proactive approach to combat the spread of the H5N1 avian influenza among dairy cattle with new measures set to take effect on April 29, 2024. This action follows detections of the virus adapting to mammals, presenting a significant risk to the livestock industry and necessitating robust response strategies.

Under the new Federal Order by USDA’s APHIS, all dairy cattle destined for interstate movement must be tested and confirmed negative for the Influenza A virus at certified laboratories. This step is part of a broader effort to create a controlled environment that minimizes the risk of the disease spreading across state lines.

Additionally, the detection of positive cases must now be promptly reported to APHIS by both laboratories and state veterinarians. This mandatory reporting is critical for effective disease surveillance and management, allowing for rapid responses to potential outbreaks.

The USDA’s measures also include comprehensive guidance on managing dairy cattle, emphasizing the importance of stringent biosecurity practices to protect livestock from infection. The collaboration with CDC and FDA ensures that public health remains safeguarded and that the food supply, particularly milk, remains safe through effective pasteurization and handling protocols.

With these actions, the USDA aims to fortify the livestock sector against the threat of H5N1, ensuring the health of dairy cattle and the continuity of the dairy industry in the face of emerging infectious diseases.

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