U.S. orders cow testing for bird flu after grocery milk tests positive

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Doctor: Bird flu not a hazard to humans truthful acold

Doctor connected vertebrate flu: "So far, nary existent hazard to the quality population" 03:32

The Agriculture Department is ordering the dairy manufacture to trial milk-producing cows for infections from highly pathogenic avian influenza, oregon HPAI H5N1, earlier they're moved betwixt states, national officials announced Wednesday.

USDA's determination to ramp up investigating requirements for HPAI H5N1 comes aft the Food and Drug Administration disclosed Tuesday that samples of pasteurized beverage that had been sold connected market store shelves had tested affirmative for the virus, prompting further probe to verify if the affirmative trial was caused by lingering dormant "virus particles" oregon unrecorded infectious virus.

It besides comes aft national authorities accidental they person present spotted immoderate "isolated" but worrying changes to the microorganism successful cows, which are believed by U.S. officials to person contracted the microorganism from chaotic birds.

State veterinarians and labs that find that cattle person tested affirmative for the microorganism volition beryllium required to study their results to the USDA. Farms with cows that are sick volition request to acquisition investigations earlier moving cattle crossed authorities lines.

"The superior absorption of the order, initially, volition beryllium lactating cattle. But we volition surely person the accidental to grow beyond that arsenic necessary," Mike Watson, caput of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, told reporters Wednesday.

Officials previously said that the unprecedented dispersed of the microorganism among dairy cattle apt traces to a azygous spillover lawsuit from chaotic birds, based connected an investigation of familial sequences collected from sick cattle.

Since then, familial information and investigations suggest the microorganism has dispersed to infect cows across at slightest 8 states and a human dairy worker in Texas. Egg farms from Texas and Michigan are besides suspected to person been infected by microorganism that dispersed from cows, adding to millions of poultry culled due to the fact that of infections from chaotic birds.

"Those farms person been successful adjacent proximity to affected dairy farms. And truthful determination could beryllium lateral travel from the dairy farms to these poultry operations, to these ovum laying operations. This could beryllium specified things arsenic transportation of the microorganism done fomites, specified arsenic connected covering oregon connected vehicles," National Milk Producers Federation main subject serviceman Jamie Jonker said astatine caller Swine Health Information Center webinar.

The microorganism was not initially recovered successful the respiratory tract of astir infected cows, officials said, suggesting it is not spreading done the aerial betwixt cows similar different kinds of influenza. Instead, H5N1 HPAI successful the existent outbreak has been recovered astir exclusively in earthy milk and the cattle organs that nutrient it. Officials deliberation the microorganism whitethorn person dispersed betwixt cows during the milking process connected farms, done surfaces contaminated with infected earthy milk. 

However, Watson said that astatine slightest 1 cattle headed to slaughter has present been recovered with signs of the microorganism successful its lung tissue. The cattle was condemned by USDA inspectors and did not participate the nutrient supply, Watson said.

Federal scientists person besides recovered a mutation successful different sick cattle from Kansas that had a familial alteration that adapted the flu to dispersed amended successful mammals.

"The 1 series displacement and the 1 dairy cattle with H5N1 successful the lung insubstantial truthful acold look to beryllium isolated events. However, the caller question of H5N1 betwixt chaotic birds and dairy cows requires further testing," Watson said. 

Cows mostly person been recovering from the microorganism without dying, Watson said. That's successful stark opposition to the benignant of mass die-offs seen successful birds and immoderate other species. However, dairy manufacture officials person antecedently said immoderate cows person yet to retrieve their quality to nutrient milk, raising concerns of semipermanent issues for immoderate cattle.

"We request clip to make an knowing to enactment immoderate aboriginal courses of action. So this national bid is captious to expanding the accusation disposable for USDA," said Watson.

H5N1 HPAI virus found successful pasteurized milk

While wellness authorities accidental they deliberation erstwhile enactment pasteurizing eggs for HPAI H5N1 and beverage for different germs suggests the process volition beryllium capable to eradicate the information from immoderate lingering traces of the microorganism recovered successful milk, they accidental studies are besides ongoing present to verify that pasteurized beverage remains safe.

"A affirmative PCR trial does not needfully mean that the illustration contains an intact infectious pathogen and that further investigating is required to find whether intact pathogen is inactive contiguous and if it remains infectious," Don Prater, caput of the FDA's nutrient information center, said astatine the quality briefing.

This involves what FDA says is the "gold standard" for checking if the microorganism that they recovered is perchance infectious, taking the H5N1 HPAI particles they recovered and seeing if it volition turn successful chickenhearted eggs. 

Research backed by the National Institutes of Health has besides recovered H5N1 HPAI fragments successful milk. Early investigating of those samples suggests the microorganism successful the pasteurized beverage was not infectious, trying to turn the microorganism successful cells and chickenhearted eggs.

"While this is invited news, the effort studied a tiny fig of samples that is not needfully typical of each retail milk. So to truly recognize the scope here, we request to hold for the FDA," said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo.

Prater said that the samples had travel from a nationalist survey of the U.S. beverage supply, but declined to stock details of wherever they had been recovered and what kinds of beverage person tested positive. 

"We don't person accusation yet to stock but it volition beryllium coming retired precise soon and that's what I tin stock astatine this point," said Prater.

Milk from cows known to beryllium sick with symptoms of the microorganism is not entering the proviso chain, Prater said. But it is imaginable that the microorganism could beryllium making it into the proviso concatenation from different sources, Prater said, perchance from cows that are not yet symptomatic oregon person antecedently recovered.

FDA has immoderate information that could assistance investigators hint wherever the beverage with the microorganism made it into the nutrient supply, Prater said.

"Right present we volition beryllium capable to look astatine accusation that we are collecting arsenic portion of this. Our traceability accusation is good, but it's not perfect," said Prater.

Alexander Tin

Alexander Tin is simply a integer newsman for CBS News based successful the Washington, D.C. bureau. He covers the Biden administration's nationalist wellness agencies, including the national effect to infectious illness outbreaks similar COVID-19.

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