Dairy Cows
May 24, 2024
Albany, NY

State Department of Agriculture Shares USDA Recommendations to Minimize Influenza Transmission at Dairy Cattle Livestock Exhibitions

State Department of Agriculture Shares USDA Recommendations to Minimize Influenza Transmission at Dairy Cattle Livestock Exhibitions
No Cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Have Been Detected in New York Livestock to Date
State and Federal Import Orders Remains in Place; Farmers are Encouraged to Monitor Animal Health and Practice Good Biosecurity

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today updated the agricultural industry on the nationwide response to detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cattle and goats in several other states. This week, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued new recommendations to minimize influenza transmission at dairy cattle livestock exhibitions, including a recommendation that lactating animals moving interstate to an exhibition, show, or sale must have a negative test result from samples collected within seven days of movement. Producers and veterinarians are encouraged to continue visiting the USDA APHIS website for the latest information. No cases have been detected in New York livestock to date. According to USDA and the FDA, pasteurized milk and dairy products remain safe to consume as pasteurization kills harmful microbes and pathogens in milk and there is also no concern regarding the consumption of properly cooked meat products.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “As the summer fair season begins, we want to make sure our partners across the state are up to date on USDA’s latest recommendations regarding influenza transmission at dairy cattle livestock exhibitions. We encourage exhibitors and exhibition organizers to follow these commonsense steps and additional testing protocols so our producers can feel assured that their livestock will remain safe and healthy during travel to fairs and shows this summer.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “The Department of Health is actively engaged and monitoring this situation, and we remind people that at this time, there are no known cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in humans or livestock in New York State. We thank our state and federal partners for their diligence in placing pre-movement testing requirements on dairy cattle and for educating farmers regarding livestock transmission deterrence, especially ahead of summer fairs and exhibitions. We will continue to collaborate with the Department of Agriculture and Markets to prepare for any potential risks to public health and safety.”

The recommendations from USDA APHIS include considerations for state animal health officials, exhibition organizers, and exhibitors, including:

  • lactating animals moving to an exhibition, show, or sale are required to have a test within seven days of movement;
  • isolating and observing animals for 30 days for illness after returning home and before allowing contact with other animals;
  • cleaning and disinfecting any equipment brought to fairs and exhibitions;
  • monitoring cattle for signs of illness;
  • designating isolation areas and plans for milk discard for sick cows;
  • limiting direct contact with the public to the extent possible;
  • working with state health officials to understand interstate and intrastate testing and movement requirements; and
  • ensuring good record keeping so that the appropriate parties may be quickly reached in the event of an incident associated with the exhibition.

View the full recommendations at aphis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/guidance-dairy-cattle-livestock-exhibition.pdf.

The Department encourages industry members to follow these steps in addition to the state’s guidelines to help ensure the health and safety of animals at county fairs across New York, in addition to The Great New York State Fair. Animal health requirements for 2024 county fairs and The New York State Fair are outlined in three documents, listed below. These documents currently apply to animals, including poultry, at fairs in 2024.

These may be subject to change by the Department as it continues to monitor incidences of HPAI in the United States.

USDA also recently announced expanded support for producers to help stop the spread of HPAI in dairy cattle, including for producers who do not have a herd that has tested positive. This support equips producers with tools they can use to keep their herds and workers healthy and reduce risk of the virus spreading to additional herds. These financial tools include supporting biosecurity planning and implementation; reimbursing producers for veterinary costs associated with sample collection for H5N1 testing, and offsetting shipping costs for influenza A testing at laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

Additionally, in April, the state issued temporary import requirements for dairy cattle coming  into New York. These requirements remain in place until further notice and should be followed in addition to a federal order. The temporary import requirements for dairy cattle into New York State are:

  • importation of dairy cattle from a premises with a confirmed case of HPAI or a premises under investigation as a suspect premises is prohibited;
  • dairy cattle imported from affected states must be accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) issued within 10 days prior to entry into the state; and
  • CVIs issued for dairy cattle from affected states must include the statement: “All animals identified on the Certificate of Veterinary (CVI) have been examined and do not originate from a premises with a confirmed detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or that is currently under investigation as a suspect premises.”

HPAI was confirmed in dairy cattle in Texas in late March, and has since spread to Kansas, New Mexico, Michigan, Idaho, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, and South Dakota, and was also diagnosed in young goats in Minnesota on a premises with HPAI-infected poultry. A map of states that have detected HPAI in livestock can be found at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/livestock-poultry-disease/avian/avian-influenza/hpai-detections/livestock.

While there have been no detections of HPAI in dairy cattle or goats in New York, the Department issued a statewide alert to veterinarians urging them to contact the Department if they see any signs or symptoms of illness in farm animals.

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.

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.

Additional biosecurity recommendations can be found here and information regarding HPAI and milk safety can be found here.