Bird Flu Strain Detected in Minnesota Dairy Herd for First Time

A strain of bird flu currently affecting cows and an increasing number of humans globally has been detected in a dairy herd in Minnesota, marking the first such case in the state.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health reported that the H5N1 bird flu strain was found in Benton County, central Minnesota after a dairy producer noticed clinical signs in a few cows. Within a day, over 40 cows exhibited signs of fever, prompting testing by the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

The USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the illness as H5N1. Dr. Brian Hoefs, the State Veterinarian, emphasized the importance of testing and research to better prevent future infections. “We knew it was only a matter of time before this detection would reach our doorstep,” he said, urging dairy farmers to follow the example of the affected herd. reported by AOL

Governor Tim Walz expressed concern over the Benton County outbreak during D-Day anniversary celebrations in France. Similar cases have been detected in Iowa, leading Governor Kim Reynolds to request USDA resources to combat the disease.

Health agencies worldwide are struggling to contain the spreading illness, which has resulted in the deaths of dozens of dairy cattle in five states and infected several people, including three in the U.S. A recent case in Michigan and a fatality in Mexico highlight the virus’s ongoing threat. told by Reuters

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health advises dairy farmers to implement stringent biosecurity measures if cows show signs of illness, including:

  • Halting or delaying cow movements and testing for H5N1 before moving animals.
  • Milking sick cows last.
  • Keeping feed covered and cleaning spills immediately.
  • Providing clean water secured from wildlife.
  • Consult veterinarians if signs of illness appear.

Symptoms to watch for include fever, reduced milk production, loss of appetite, and changes in manure consistency. The board also noted an increase in poultry cases, with eight sites testing positive for the virus in May.