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Bird flu found in Wyoming dairy cows

The location wasn’t disclosed, but Wyoming officials confirmed Friday the state’s first case at a dairy farm. Risks to humans are very low, though officials recommend drinking pasteurized milk.

Holstein-Friesian milk cow (Keith Weller/USDA/Wikimedia Commons)

By Madelyn Beck

Wyoming is now the 10th state where bird flu has infected dairy cows.

State Veterinarian Hallie Hasel said the highly pathogenic avian influenza infection was confirmed Friday, though she didn’t disclose a location. 

Still, she said in a news release that the risk to human health was very low and the risk to cattle was minimal. 

“The primary concern with this diagnosis is on-dairy production losses, as the disease has been associated with decreased milk production,” she stated.

Three people have been infected with the H5N1 bird flu after contact with infected dairy cows, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One other person was infected after contact with poultry. 

Meanwhile, more than 80 dairy cow herds have been infected as of June 7, according to the CDC. Federal agencies and officials continue to track the disease’s movement and analyze how it’s spreading. 

“While it is still unclear exactly how virus is spreading, the virus is shed in milk at high concentrations; therefore, anything that comes in contact with unpasteurized raw milk, spilled milk, etc. may spread the virus including other animals, vehicles, and other objects or materials,” the USDA stated

This article was originally published by WyoFile and is republished here with permission. WyoFile is an independent nonprofit news organization focused on Wyoming people, places and policy.