On Monday, March 25, 2024, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in two dairy herds in Texas and two dairy herds in Kansas that had cattle exhibiting decreased lactation, low appetite, and other symptoms.

USDA has since confirmed the presence of HPAI other states. For the latest on the HPAI detection in dairy cattle, visit the USDA website.

Minnesota animal health officials are monitoring this developing situation and are in contact with industry officials.

Farm Biosecurity

Dairy producers are encouraged to consider heightened biosecurity measures such as those described in the Secure Milk Supply Plan

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health notes some important biosecurity points:

  • Separate all incoming animals for 21-30 days and screen for signs of disease before allowing them into your herd.
  • Milk imported animals last.
  • Use a Line of Separation and specific access points to restrict staff or visitors to certain areas on the farm.
  • Create a clean/dirty line at barn or parlor entries where staff or visitors can change into barn specific footwear or clothing and clean and disinfect (This point is especially important if staff travel between different locations).
  • Report clinical signs or suspected illnesses to your veterinarian immediately.
  • Know where you source your feed and keep rodents and wildlife away from stored feed. Keep feed covered or contained and clean any feed spills immediately.
  • Provide clean water and keep wildlife away from troughs.

Milk & Dairy Product Safety

There continues to be no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply because products are pasteurized before entering the market. Pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. Pasteurization is required for any milk entering commerce for human consumption.

Also, dairies are required to send only milk from healthy animals into processing for human consumption. Because milk from impacted animals looks abnormal, it is discarded and does not enter the human food supply.

People should not prepare or eat uncooked or undercooked food, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk or raw cheeses, from animals with suspected or confirmed HPAI virus infection. Raw milk or unpasteurized dairy products may contain harmful bacteria or viruses and can cause illness.

The FDA has information on the safety of the milk supply and dairy products.

Farm Worker Safety

The CDC considers the human health risk of H5N1 for the general public low. However, people with close or prolonged, unprotected exposures to infected birds or other animals (including livestock), or to an environment contaminated by infected birds or other animals, are at greater risk of infection. The CDC has interim recommendations for prevention, monitoring, and public health investigations of HPAI viruses.

Cattle Movement

Minnesota does not have official movement restrictions on cattle regarding this HPAI outbreak. View the Minnesota Board of Animal Health's website for information on routine movement requirements to learn how to protect Minnesota’s herds.