Dairy cows standing in the sunset.
March 28, 2024
Albany, NY

State Agriculture Department Monitoring Cases of HPAI in Farm Animals in Midwestern and Southern States

State Agriculture Department Monitoring Cases of HPAI in Farm Animals in Midwestern and Southern States
No Detections of HPAI in Dairy Cattle or Goats in New York State
Alerts Veterinarians to the Situation in Texas, Kansas, and Minnesota, Urges Them to Contact the Department if Any Signs or Symptoms of Illness are Suspected in New York
Reminds Consumers that Pasteurized Milk and Dairy Products and Properly Cooked Meat are Safe

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is continuing to monitor the evolving situation of confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cattle in Texas and Kansas.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier this week confirmed HPAI in two dairy cattle herds in Texas and two herds in Kansas. In addition, last week, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health confirmed HPAI in a goat in Minnesota. While there have been no detections of HPAI in dairy cattle or goats in New York, the Department has issued a statewide alert to veterinarians urging them to contact the Department if they see any signs or symptoms of illness in farm animals. The USDA confirmed that there is no threat to human health, and pasteurized milk and dairy products remain safe to consume as pasteurization kills harmful microbes and pathogens in milk, including the influenza virus.  There is also no concern regarding the consumption of properly cooked meat products.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Department is monitoring these confirmed cases of HPAI in dairy cattle and in goats as reported to us by the USDA. We have not had any cause for concern here in New York State, but we are in close contact with our industry partners and with our veterinarians across New York State as a precaution. It’s extremely important to note to consumers that these detections do not impact our food supply, and that pasteurized milk and dairy products are safe for New Yorkers to eat and drink. We’ll continue to keep the industry and consumers updated as we learn more.”

As additional testing continues in Texas and Kansas, the USDA has said that the detections appear to have been introduced by wild birds. Based on the confirmed cases so far, symptoms that veterinarians and farm owners should be on the lookout for include:

Clinical signs seen in affected cattle:

  • decreased milk production;
  • acute sudden drop in production with some severely impacted cows experiencing thicker, concentrated milk;
  • decrease in feed consumption; abnormal feces; and low-grade fever.

Impacted animals were primarily older cows in mid-lactation, while dry cows, heifers and youngstock did not appear to be affected.

Clinical signs seen in affected newborn goats:

  • Unusual deaths

If any of these symptoms are noted, veterinarians are urged to call the Department at 518-457-3502 for sampling guidance.

In addition to monitoring for animal health, the Department is urging farm owners and farm workers to practice good biosecurity measures, which include the following:

  • Restrict on-farm access to employees and essential personnel;
  • Provide farm-dedicated work boots for all workers that are not worn anywhere else;
  • Prevent cattle from drinking from sources that may be contaminated by waterfowl;
  • Prevent wild birds from accessing feed sources and make sure all feed spills are cleaned up; and
  • Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your cattle are showing signs of HPAI.

For more information on preventing avian influenza on the farm, please visit USDA’s fact sheet here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/downloads/animal_diseases/ai/hpaifactsheet_wildlife-biosecurity.pdf