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Discussion thread: H5N1 avian flu in US Dairy Cows - March 24+ - 3 human cases (1 in Texas & 2 in Michigan)

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  • Treyfish
    replied
    FDA finds traces of H5N1 bird flu viruses in grocery store milk but says pasteurized dairy products are still safe


    By Brenda Goodman, CNN
    6 minute read
    Published 8:27 PM EDT, Tue April 23, 2024


    .......Dr. Eric Topol, founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said the finding of viral particles in milk on grocery store shelves means the outbreak is probably more widespread than we’ve known.

    “The dissemination to cows is far greater than we have been led to believe,” Topol said in an email Tuesday.

    “The FDA assurance that the dairy supply is safe is nice, but it’s not based on extensive assessment yet, which they acknowledge, and won’t engender trust and confidence because it comes in the wake of USDA mishandling,” he added.


    ​.....The USDA said it has encouraged farmers and ranchers to report cases of sick cattle to state animal health officials.

    But neither cows nor the people who work or live around them are being widely screened for the infection, which would require informed consent. Testing of wastewater in areas with outbreaks is also being discussed.

    ​.....
    ​​​​​​Instead, the CDC is monitoring emergency department data and flu testing data in areas where H5N1 viruses have been detected in dairy cattle for any unusual trends in flu-lik...e illness, flu or conjunctivitis. “So far, these data remain in expected ranges, and to date, surveillance systems do not show any unusual trends or activity,” according to information in a statement compiled by officials at the CDC.

    CDC spokesperson Jason McDonald said that 23 people with exposures to H5N1 had been tested, including one person in Texas who previously tested positive. No other people have tested positive in the current outbreak, he said.

    ​​​​​​https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/23/healt...fda/index.html

    Leave a comment:


  • Treyfish
    replied
    Updates on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)
    • Content current as of:


      04/23/2024
    ​Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is a disease that is highly contagious and often deadly in poultry, caused by highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5) and A (H7) viruses; it is also known as bird or avian flu. HPAI viruses can be transmitted by wild birds to domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Although bird flu viruses do not normally infect humans, sporadic human infections have occurred. It is important to note that “highly pathogenic” refers to severe impact in birds, not necessarily in humans.

    Ongoing Work to Ensure Continued Effectiveness of Federal-State Milk Safety System - April 2024 Update


    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with state partners, continue to investigate an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus impacting dairy cows in multiple states. Infection with the virus is causing decreased lactation, low appetite, and other symptoms in affected cattle.

    The FDA and USDA have indicated that based on the information currently available, our commercial milk supply is safe because of these two reasons: 1) the pasteurization process and 2) the diversion or destruction of milk from sick cows.

    The pasteurization process has served public health well for more than 100 years. Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria and viruses by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time to make milk safer. Even if virus is detected in raw milk, pasteurization is generally expected to eliminate pathogens to a level that does not pose a risk to consumer health. However, pasteurization is different than complete sterilization; sterilization extends shelf life but is not required to ensure milk safety. While milk is pasteurized, not sterilized, this process has helped ensure the health of the American public for more than 100 years by inactivating infectious agents.

    Nearly all (99%) of the commercial milk supply that is produced on dairy farms in the U.S. comes from farms that participate in the Grade “A” milk program and follow the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO), which includes controls that help ensure the safety of dairy products. Pasteurization and diversion or destruction of milk from sick cows are two important measures that are part of the federal-state milk safety system.

    There are a number of collective activities being undertaken to ensure the continued effectiveness of the federal-state milk safety system. In addition to these specific research activities, the FDA is collaborating closely with CDC's food safety group, as well as its surveillance team that’s monitoring emergency department data and flu testing data for any unusual trends in flu-like illness, flu, or conjunctivitis. To date, surveillance systems do not show any unusual trends or activity.

    As noted by USDA and some press reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other sources, the presence of the virus has been detected in raw milk. Based on available information, pasteurization is likely to inactivate the virus, however the process is not expected to remove the presence of viral particles. Therefore, some of the samples collected have indicated the presence of HPAI using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) testing.

    During the course of the outbreak, the FDA has been evaluating milk from affected animals, in the processing system, and on the shelves. We are completing a large representative national sample, to better understand the extent of these findings. Because qPCR findings do not represent actual virus that may be a risk to consumers, the FDA is further assessing any positive findings through egg inoculation tests, a gold-standard for determining viable virus. To date, we have seen nothing that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe. Results from multiple studies will be made available in the next few days to weeks.

    Sound science is critical to informing public health decisions like those made by the FDA related to food safety and we take this current situation and the safety of the milk supply very seriously. We recognize the importance of releasing further, actionable information.

    Review of Available Data


    Given that the detection of H5N1 in dairy cows is a novel and evolving situation, no studies on the effects of pasteurization on HPAI viruses (such as H5N1) in bovine milk have previously been completed although considerable scientific literature is available that has informed our current understanding.

    The established pasteurization process set forth in the PMO provides specific times and temperature requirements[i] for effective pasteurization of known pathogens in the milk supply. Data from previous studies[ii, iii], that serve as the underpinnings of the FDA’s current milk supply safety assessment show that pasteurization is very likely to effectively inactivate heat-sensitive viruses, like H5N1, in milk from cows and other species. Additionally, data[iv, v, vi] shows thermal inactivation of HPAI (H5N1) has been successful during the pasteurization process for eggs, which occurs at lower temperatures than what is used for milk.

    Ongoing Research


    U.S. government partners have been working with deliberate speed on a wide range of studies looking at milk along all stages of production -- on the farm, during processing and on shelves -- using well- established methodologies used previously to confirm pasteurization effectiveness for known pathogens.

    This work is a top priority, and we are proceeding in an efficient, methodical, and scientific fashion to ensure the continued effectiveness and safety of the federal-state milk safety system.

    Laboratory benchtop tests are the first part of this ongoing work. This includes testing laboratory generated samples inoculated with high levels of a recently isolated and closely related avian flu virus and samples of raw, unpasteurized milk directly from cows in affected herds with and without symptoms to understand how, and at what levels, heat treatment (pasteurization) inactivates the virus.

    While this information is important, this testing alone cannot provide a complete picture as these samples are not representative of what we would expect to see in the real-world from milk routed to pasteurization and processing for commercial use.

    In addition to lab testing, a critical step in the scientific confirmation process includes testing of milk that is representative of real-world scenarios in which milk is typically pooled in large amounts from numerous healthy cows from numerous farms before pasteurizing and processing.

    Work is underway to test samples of milk in systems that represent current industry practices using the range of temperature and time combinations that are used in pasteurization processes.

    Additional analysis is underway of milk on store shelves across the country in addition to work to evaluate any potential differentiation for various types of dairy products (e.g., whole milk, cream).

    We are aware that universities or other entities are conducting work in this area, particularly universities and consortia supported by the National Institutes of Health. We look forward to reviewing all results generated from various scientific studies, testing methods and the product(s) used as we continue assessing all the data and information available. We are committed to collaborating with the broad community to come to sound scientific conclusions regarding this situation -- which it’s important to understand takes time.

    Data Considerations


    Multiple tests are used to assess the safety of food items. Understanding how and why different methodologies are used and work, as well as how results fit into the larger picture, is critical to interpret any findings.
    • Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is a screening tool used to determine the presence or absence of an organism’s genetic material in a sample. A positive qPCR means that the genetic material from the targeted pathogen was detected in the sample, but that does not mean that the sample contains an intact, infectious pathogen. That’s because qPCR tests will also detect the residual genetic material from pathogens killed by heat, like pasteurization, or other food safety treatments. Importantly, additional testing is required to determine whether intact pathogen is still present and if it remains infectious, which determines whether there is any risk of illness associated with consuming the product.
    • Embryonated Egg Viability Studies are considered the “gold standard” for sensitive detection of active, infectious virus. These studies are one of the types of additional tests necessary following PCR testing. These studies are done by injecting an embryonated chicken egg with a sample and then evaluating to see whether any active virus replicates. While this provides the most sensitive results, it takes a longer time to complete than other methods.
    • Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) Cell Culture is different type of additional test used following PCR testing to detect live, infectious virus. This is done by injecting a sample into specific tissue cells to determine whether any live virus is present and replicates. This method can usually be done more quickly than embryonated egg viability studies, but it is not as sensitive and may provide false negative results when the amount of virus in the sample is very low.
    Precautions for Raw Milk


    The FDA has a long-standing recommendation to consumers not to consume raw milk (milk that has not been pasteurized). Because of the limited information available about the possible transmission of H5N1 virus via raw milk, the FDA continues to recommend that industry does not manufacture or sell raw milk or raw milk products, including raw milk cheese, made with milk from cows showing symptoms of illness, including those infected with avian influenza viruses or exposed to those infected with avian influenza viruses.

    Importantly, the FDA has also recommended producers take precautions when discarding milk from affected cows so that the discarded milk does not become a source of further spread. Producers should consult with their state regulatory authorities for specific recommendations or requirements; however, such precautions should include heat treatment, pasteurization or its equivalent, of discarded milk prior to dumping in lagoons or application of waste solids and ensuring biosecurity around lagoons (e.g., ensuring that animals and birds do not have access to lagoons). Any raw milk or raw milk products from exposed cattle that are fed to calves (or to other animals, such as farm cats) should be heat treated or pasteurized.

    Conclusion


    The PMO and pasteurization continue to provide important measures to assure milk safety. Given this is the first time we have seen this virus affect cows, these are the first studies that have been initiated to look at the effectiveness of pasteurization on HPAI viruses such as H5N1 in bovine milk.

    As previously noted, the FDA is collaborating closely with CDC's food safety group, as well as its surveillance team that’s monitoring emergency department data and flu testing data for any unusual trends in flu-like illness, flu, or conjunctivitis. To date, surveillance systems do not show any unusual trends or activity
    . Only one associated human case from a person exposed to infected cows has been linked with this outbreak in dairy cows to date and CDC says risk to the general public remains low.

    The FDA and USDA are working closely to collect and evaluate additional data and information specific to H5N1 in dairy cattle and to support state counterparts as this emerging disease in dairy cattle is managed. These important efforts are ongoing, and we are committed to sharing results as soon as possible. In the meantime, the FDA and USDA continue to indicate that based on the information we currently have, our commercial milk supply is safe. Additional Resources

    i. 21 CFR part 131 -- milk and cream. (n.d.). https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-2...ter-B/part-131

    ii. Pitino, M. A., O’Connor, D. L., McGeer, A. J., & Unger, S. (2021). The impact of thermal pasteurization on viral load and detectable live viruses in human milk and other matrices: a rapid review. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism, 46(1), 10–26. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2020-0388External Link Disclaimer

    iii. Jay, J. M., Loessner, M. J., Golden, D. A., & Keller, H. B. (2005). Food Protection with High Temperatures. In Modern Food Microbiology (pp. 415–441). https://link.springer.com/chapter/10...387-23413-6_17External Link Disclaimer

    iv. Chmielewski, R. A., Beck, J. R., & Swayne, D. E. (2011). Thermal inactivation of avian influenza virus and Newcastle disease virus in a fat-free egg product. Journal of Food Protection, 74(7), 1161–1169. https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028x.jfp-10-415External Link Disclaimer https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028x.jfp-10-415External Link Disclaimer

    v. Chmielewski, R. A., Beck, J. R., & Swayne, D. E. (2013). Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s egg pasteurization processes on the inactivation of high-pathogenicity avian influenza virus and velogenic Newcastle disease virus in processed egg products. Journal of Food Protection, 76(4), 640–645. https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028x.jfp-12-369External Link Disclaimer

    vi. Chmielewski, R. A., Beck, J. R., Juneja, V. K., & Swayne, D. E. (2013). Inactivation of low pathogenicity notifiable avian influenza virus and lentogenic Newcastle disease virus following pasteurization in liquid egg products. Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft Und Technologie [Food Science and Technology], 52(1), 27–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2013.01.002External Link Disclaimer


    ​​​​​​https://www.fda.gov/food/alerts-advi...influenza-hpai

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  • sharon sanders
    replied

    Helen Branswell
    @HelenBranswell
    ·
    15m
    1. So much today on the #H5N1 #birdflu story! Just coming up for air.
    @US_FDA
    has found genetic evidence of the virus in commercial milk, but so far it sounds like killed virus. More info on where they found it/how prevalent it was would be useful.

    H5N1 bird flu virus particles found in pasteurized milk but FDA says commercial milk supply appears...
    From statnews.com
    2
    30
    58

    3.6K
    Helen Branswell
    @HelenBranswell
    ·
    15m
    2. Despite the lack of metadata in the genetic sequence files
    @USDA
    uploaded Sunday, smart scientists have been able to glean some interesting stuff. Like this #H5N1 #birdflu outbreak probably started in late 2023 & is likely more widespread than it appears.
    Show more
    7
    14

    2

    Leave a comment:


  • Treyfish
    replied
    US FDA says commercial milk safe despite bird flu virus presence

    Published 04/23/2024, 06:54 PM
    Updated 04/23/2024, 07:30 PM


    ....."Based on available information, pasteurization is likely to inactivate the virus, however the process is not expected to remove the presence of viral particles," the FDA said.https://www.investing.com/news/stock...esence-3392187

    Leave a comment:


  • Treyfish
    replied
    Bird flu virus found in pasteurized milk, though officials maintain supply is safe

    The FDA is waiting on test results on the effects of pasteurization on the virus in cow's milk, but to date, it's seen nothing that would change the assessment that commercial milk is safe.
    April 23, 2024, 6:47 PM EDT
    By Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Erika Edwards
    The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that fragments of the bird flu virus had been detected in some samples of pasteurized milk in the U.S. While the agency maintains that the milk is safe to drink, it notes that it is still waiting on the results of studies to confirm this.
    ....

    The FDA has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the outbreak.

    The fragments of the virus were found while testing samples of pasteurized milk, the FDA said. The testing method, called PCR testing, looks for bits of genetic material; a positive result doesn’t mean that live, infectious virus has been found.

    “Based on available information, pasteurization is likely to inactivate the virus, however the process is not expected to remove the presence of viral particles,” the agency said in a release that it plans to make public later Tuesday. “To date, we have seen nothing that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe.”

    The FDA is specifically testing whether pasteurization inactivates bird flu in cow milk. The findings will be available in the “next few days to weeks,” it said.....


    Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said he was not surprised by the preliminary findings.

    “If you tested most milk, you’d find E. coli and listeria and other things in it, too, but they’d all be dead. Pasteurization doesn’t take them out, it just kills them,” he said. That is, dead particles are unlikely to cause a person to get sick.

    “I wouldn’t have any problem drinking milk tonight from an influenza standpoint at all,” Osterholm said. “My grandchildren could drink the milk tonight.”

    ​.....
    “We have a need for a lot of additional information that hasn’t been forthcoming,” Osterholm said. “We don’t know the epidemiology on these farms. We don’t know how many farms, how many samples. We have been very concerned.”....

    ​​​​​​https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...ply-rcna149084

    Leave a comment:


  • sharon sanders
    replied
    Good move to release the pasturization information. We need raw stats...also a link to the pdf. The blanket reassurance is not smart. No one believes that without data. If you want proof of what can go wrong...look at the vaccine situations. Even decades proven safe and effective vaccines (like measles) are meeting stiff resistance now.

    1) 100% disclosure. No b.s. Release all information now - even if it is not perfectly formulated.

    2) Appoint someone to head a H5N1 task force. No political person. Pick a highly qualified science/medical person who is at the end of their career and has no aspirations to be famous. Pick someone who has no controversies and no connection to COVID-19 policy failures. Do not pick anyone from any commercial venture. i.e. no vaccine company.

    3) Make a weekly update about the situation and what is being done to limit the spread/damage.

    4) Communicate frequently with the public. No lying.

    5) Establish a group of advisors who are openly connected to the affected industries for PUBLIC weekly discussions and action items assigned. The H5N1 task force leader is to run the meeting.

    6) Establish a massive testing program. Get out there. Test, test, test, test. Train the state guards if necessary. How widespread is this H5N1 dairy cattle problem?

    7) Stop being reactionary and get ahead of this situation. Be pro-active.


    You peeps know what to do in outbreaks. Now do it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mary Wilson
    commented on 's reply
    "But the testing, done by polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, cannot distinguish between live virus or fragments of viruses that could have been killed by the pasteurization process."
    This statement in above article is mind-boggling, in my opinion

  • sharon sanders
    commented on 's reply
    Thanks. I have looked around both USDA and FDA and do not see it yet....I don't doubt the writers, however.

  • Mary Wilson
    commented on 's reply
    Looking for FDA"s statement ...

  • Mary Wilson
    replied
    BREAKING NEWS​: H5N1 bird flu virus particles found in pasteurized milk but FDA says commercial milk supply appears safe

    April 23, 2024

    By Helen Branswell , Nicholas Florko , Megan Molteni , and Rachel Cohrs Zhang


    WASHINGTON — Testing conducted by the Food and Drug Administration on pasteurized commercially purchased milk has found genetic evidence of the H5N1 bird flu virus, the agency confirmed Tuesday. But the testing, done by polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, cannot distinguish between live virus or fragments of viruses that could have been killed by the pasteurization process.

    The agency said it has been trying to see if it could grow virus from milk found to contain evidence of H5N1, which is the gold standard test to see if there is viable virus in a product. The lengthy statement the agency released does not explicitly say FDA laboratories were unable to find live virus in the milk samples, but it does state that its belief that commercial, pasteurized milk is safe to consume has not been altered by these findings.

    “To date, we have seen nothing that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe,” the statement said. ...

    “Some of the samples collected have indicated the presence of [H5N1] using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) testing,” the FDA wrote in a statement.

    The FDA reiterated Tuesday that it believes the pasteurization process is “very likely” to inactivate H5N1, though the agency acknowledged that no studies have been done testing the impact of pasteurization on H5N1 viruses. ...

    The FDA emphasized Tuesday that testing of commercially available milk is ongoing, and this includes efforts to discern any potential differences between different dairy products, such as cream and whole milk. ...

    This is a developing story and it will be updated.


    https://www.statnews.com/2024/04/23/...ized-milk-fda/

    Leave a comment:


  • sharon sanders
    commented on 's reply
    Another media typo? The USDA site is still showing 33 herds. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/livestock...ions/livestock

  • Treyfish
    replied
    36 herds

    Bird flu ‘likely spreading in cows since last year’ as concern grows over US virus detection systems



    Experts say the apparent ability of the virus to spread among cattle provides opportunity for it to evolve to better infect other mammals

    Maeve Cullinan, GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY REPORTERand Sarah Newey, GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY CORRESPONDENT
    23 April 2024 • 5:41pm​


    There is a “strong possibility” that bird flu has been spreading in US cattle farms since last year, new analysis suggests, prompting questions about America’s pathogen surveillance capabilities.

    Last month, the H5N1 strain was spotted in cows for the first time, shortly before a human case was detected in Texas. The virus, which has killed tens of millions of birds worldwide since 2020, was subsequently identified in 36 dairy herds across eight US states, raising concerns about its ability to infect mammals.


    US health officials released genomic data taken from the infected cattle on Sunday, having previously said there is evidence of H5N1 spreading between cows. However, analysis of the data now indicates the virus may have been circulating in the animals since late 2023.

    “It looks to me like a strong possibility that this has been circulating in cattle for months under our noses, even before the first inkling there might be something new in February,” said Professor Michael Worobey, a biologist at the University of Arizona who produced the analysis.

    “This common ancestor may have existed around the end of 2023,” he added on X (formerly Twitter). “The common ancestor may have been in cattle, with only a single intro into cattle and subsequent spread. But we can’t rule out multiple jumps, later, from a largely avian reservoir.”
    ​….


    After mounting pressure, USDA released 239 genetic sequences of the H5N1 flu from poultry, wild birds, and dairy cows on Sunday evening, which scientists hoped would allow them to look for new clues about the virus’s spread.

    However, the data was released without any information indicating where and when each animal was infected.

    “It creates unnecessary delays and further is likely not a complete set of all the sequence data USDA has collected so far,” Dr Angela Rasmussen, a virologist
    ​……

    Leave a comment:


  • Pathfinder
    replied
    Click image for larger version  Name:	image.png Views:	1 Size:	1.07 MB ID:	989319
    information about wild pigs control from Ecology and Management of Wild Pigs. John C. Kinsey, CWB. 2020.


    -----------------------------------------------------

    Hotez: Bird flu is in Texas mammals. Here’s what you should know. | Opinion
    Plus: The viral threat of feral hogs

    By Peter Hotez
    April 5, 2024
    ...
    My colleague Michael Osterholm, an influenza expert from the University of Minnesota, says he would be more worried if it were pigs infected with this H5N1, since they are vulnerable to both human and avian flu viruses. A co-infection with both kinds of viruses could allow these viruses to reassort in pigs and produce a new virus that could infect people. That sequence of events may explain how the influenza virus that caused the terrible 1918 pandemic is thought to have first arisen on a Kansas hog farm.

    Texas is home to between 2 million and 3 million feral hogs — potential animal reservoirs for a virus that could cross into humans.

    Regarding this current episode in Texas cattle, I worry about our feral hog infestation — Texas hosts almost 40% of our nation’s feral hog population — and there’s a possibility that they could serve as animal reservoirs for “the big one.”
    ...

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/hotez-bird-flu-texas-19386352.php​

    Leave a comment:


  • sharon sanders
    replied
    The quickest and most assuredly way to harm the dairy and beef industry is to loose the trust of consumers.

    Full disclose is needed here or face the market consequences. It is better to admit a problem and candidly talk about the situation including the steps being taken to fix it.

    Consumer sentiment can change in a second. We have seen many, many negative market consequences all over the world when officials are perceived to be hiding and/or lying about outbreaks. People simply walk away from the product.

    Smarten up.

    Leave a comment:


  • Treyfish
    replied
    U.S. government in hot seat for response to growing cow flu outbreak

    Veterinarians and researchers on the front lines say it has taken too long to share data on viral changes, spread, and milk safety.......Now, 3 weeks into the first ever outbreak of a bird flu virus in dairy cattle, Russo and others are still dismayed—this time by the many questions that remain about the infections and the threat they may pose to livestock and people, and by the federal response.
    .... but government scientists have released few details about how the virus is spreading. In the face of mounting criticism about sharing little genetic data—which could indicate how the virus is changing and its potential for further spread—the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did an unusual Sunday evening dump on 21 April of 202 sequences from cattle into a public database. (Some may be different samples from the same animal.) And despite public reassurances about the safety of the country’s milk supply, officials have yet to provide supporting data......


    ...

    .....Only one human case linked to cattle has been confirmed to date, and symptoms were limited to conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. But Russo and many other vets have heard anecdotes about workers who have pink eye and other symptoms—including fever, cough, and lethargy—and do not want to be tested or seen by doctors. ...

    James Lowe, a researcher who specializes in pig influenza viruses, says policies for monitoring exposed people vary greatly between states. “I believe there are probably lots of human cases,” he says, noting that most likely are asymptomatic.....

    ​​​​


    ​....Richard Webby, an avian influenza researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, notes that available data on the virus’ genetic sequence show “no smoking guns”—mutations that could enable it to jump readily from birds to cows. At a 4 April meeting organized by a group known as the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases, Suelee Robbe Austerman of USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory said “a single spillover event or a couple of very closely related spillover events” from birds is more likely. The cow virus—which USDA has designated 3.13—could then have moved between farms as southern herds were moved northward for the spring, perhaps spreading from animal to animal on milking equipment. Lowe, who has necropsied infected cows, found no virus in their respiratory tracts, which could enable spread through the air....

    As a result, confusion is rife. A knowledgeable source who asked not to be identified says cattle that were healthy when they left a Texas farm appear to have brought the virus to a North Carolina farm. That raises the possibility that many cattle are infected but asymptomatic, which would make the virus harder to contain...

    ...... Lowe says. “We didn’t even try to get ahead of this thing,” he says. “That’s a black mark on the industry and on the profession.”

    ..
    The agency made six sequences from cattle—plus six related ones from birds and one from a skunk—available on the GISAID database on 29 March, 1 week after learning that cows were infected. It released one more sequence on 5 April, but then shared nothing else until the data dump 16 days later. Webby suspects the agency has moved cautiously because of the potential impact on the dairy industry. ...

    ..Thijs Kuiken, an avian influenza researcher at Erasmus Medical Center, says the “very sparse” information released by the U.S. government has international implications, too. State and federal animal health authorities have “abundant information … that [has] not been made public, but would be informative for health professionals and scientists” in the United States and abr....

    ...​​​​​​With its Sunday evening release, USDA made the unusual move to bypass GISAID—which requires a login and restricts how data can be used—and instead posted on a database run by the National Institutes of Health that everyone can access and do with as they please. USDA explained it did this “in ....

    ​​​​​​The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it has “no concern” that pasteurized milk presents risks because the process “has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk.”

    But Lowe says for this specific virus, there are no data to back that claim. That’s “shocking,” he says. “It should not be that hard to get that data. I do not know why the foot dragging is occurring there.”...

    ​...
    to truly assess the continuing threat of H5N1 in cattle, they need to understand how this virus succeeded at infecting dairy cows in the first place. “Which cells is the virus replicating in? How is it getting around the body? What receptor is it using to get into cells?....

    ​​​​​​https://www.science.org/content/arti...w-flu-outbreak

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