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First Confirmed Case of Bird Flu Found in Wyoming Dairy Cattle

By David Dudley

The Wyoming Livestock Board announced last week that bird flu has been found in a herd of dairy cattle in Wyoming. It's the first confirmed case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the Cowboy State.

Wyoming State Veterinarian Hallie Hasel said dairy producers should watch their cattle closely. Symptoms include a drop in milk production, loss of appetite, changes in manure consistency, thickened milk and low-grade fever. Producers should contact their herd veterinarian if they notice any symptoms.

“The primary concern with this diagnosis is on dairy production losses," Hasel said in the press release. "The disease has been associated with decreased milk production. The risk to cattle is minimal and the risk to human health remains very low.”

In April, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) warned that unregulated interstate transport of young calves could encourage the spread of the disease. After leading an investigation into the allegedly common practice, in which large-scale dairy operations transport young calves over long distances, the Institute petitioned the USDA.

Shortly thereafter, the USDA issued a federal order to prevent the spread of HPAI. As of April 29, dairy producers are required to test their cattle at an approved National Animal Health Laboratory Network lab before travel. There are only two labs in this network in Wyoming; both are in Laramie.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) said that a second human case of bird flu had been confirmed, according to a press release from late May. The case was reported in Michigan. As with the first confirmed case, which was found in Texas, the patient worked on a dairy farm, and had an eye infection.

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