Bird flu found in cows for the first time anywhere in the world | Tech News

Cows in three states have fallen ill (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

Dairy cattle have fallen ill with bird flu for the first time, but health officials say the risk to people from the virus remains low.

Cows in three US states – Texas, Kansas and New Mexico – have all tested positive for the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, which has killed millions of birds worldwide.

None of the cows that have contracted the disease have died.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have stressed that the country’s commercial milk supply is safe.

‘At this stage, there is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health,’ the USDA said in a statement.

In all three states the virus seems to be affecting older dairy cows, causing a drop in milk production and loss of appetite.

Where bird flu has been detected in dairy cows (Picture: Getty/

Dairy farmers in Texas first became concerned about their cows around three weeks ago when cattle became ill with a ‘mystery dairy cow disease’.

Texas Department of Agriculture commissioner Sid Miller said: ‘We hadn’t seen anything like it before.

‘It was kind of like they had a cold.’

Food animal veterinarian Micheal Payne and biosecurity expert said that the virus seems to be infecting around 10% of lactating dairy cows in the herds.

The cows appeared to recover on their own within seven to 10 days, but the USDA confirmed that only milk from healthy animals is allowed to enter the food supply, and milk from sick animals is destroyed or diverted.

To eliminate avian flu in poultry, birds need to be culled (Picture: Getty)

The process of pasteurisation also kills viruses and other bacteria.

Texas’s health commission has begun an investigation into the outbreak. US officials think the cows contracted the virus from infected wild birds.

In poultry farming, infected birds must be culled to stop the spread of the virus. This has led to the loss of almost 80 million birds in US commercial flocks since 2022.

Bird flu has also been discovered in a goat in Minnesota, which is the first case of its kind ever spotted in the US.

The kid was living on a farm with a poultry flock that also tested positive for bird flu.

However, mammals that usually fall ill with bird flu such as foxes or seals are more likely to contract the virus from eating infected birds.

MORE : Man ‘steals leg after passenger struck by train and eats it like a drumstick’

MORE : Nine-month-old girl who swallowed battery left with burnt throat

MORE : First victim of Baltimore Bridge disaster named after rescue operation suspended


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.