Now that bird flu is spreading among cows, scientists worry where H5N1 will jump next – CBC

Possibly of H5N1 appearing in more livestock, including pigs, could help it adapt to better infect humans

Apr 04, 2024

On March 25, American officials published an urgent announcement: Dairy cows in Texas, Kansas, and New Mexico were falling sick.

The cows had low appetites, and produced less milk than normal. Some farms also discovered wild bird carcasses on their grounds. Tests on a cow throat swab and raw milk samples all confirmed an unusual finding: for the first time, cattle were catching a dangerous form of bird flu.

Within days, highly pathogenic avian flu — a type of influenza A known as H5N1 — was identified in at least a dozen herds across six states, from Texas in the south, up to Michigan and Idaho on the Canadian border.

Louise Moncla, an avian influenza researcher and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was stunned.

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