More cows are being checked for avian influenza and kept under observation.

R,- As test and tracking of avian flu in dairy cows intensifies, health and agriculture agencies in the United States are working with urgency. Understand and stop the growing epidemic before it gets out of control is the obvious goal. Although scientists now believe there is little risk to humans, they are nevertheless concerned in case the virus changes into a form that may spread easily among people.

Eight states have seen the virus, known as Type A H5N1, infect almost thirty dairy herds. More worrisome, milk on grocery store shelves has been found to contain dormant virus leftovers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that studies reveal the virus's sly spread among cows, including asymptomatic ones, and its cross-species transmission between cows and birds.

A new federal regulation going into effect immediately requires hundreds of thousands of lactating dairy cows in the United States to have testing—with negative results—before being moved across state lines.

The continuing inquiry into the avian flu pandemic is examined in more detail here:

Unusual Nature of the Outbreak

For many years, wild birds have been home to this extremely infectious type of avian influenza. Its invasion into other mammals worldwide has occurred in recent years, nevertheless. The virus has affected everything from farmed minks to wild animals like foxes and bears that fed on ill or dead birds to aquatic species like harbour seals and porpoises. It was even found, remarkably, in a polar bear in northern Alaska.

Unexpected Discovery in Cows

Many were shocked to learn of the virus in ruminants this spring in the United States, first in goats and later in dairy cows. Expert in influenza at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Richard Webby noted the surprising nature of this finding and emphasised that cows aren't usually linked to influenza A. Because flu viruses may adapt to many different animals, their presence in dairy cows raises questions about possible human transmission.

Duration of Bird Flu Spread in Cows

It was in March when the virus in cows was confirmed following weeks of reports about ill animals on dairy farms. Symptoms included lassitude, less milk supply, and changed milk consistency indicated a more serious problem in the cows. University of Minnesota veterinary medicine professor Matthew Aliota said finding viral leftovers in retail milk points to a more persistent and extensive issue than was previously recognised.

Efforts to Track and Contain the Outbreak

Experts commend the USDA for its move to require testing in cows, calling it an important first step. Professor of virology at the veterinary school at the University of Wisconsin, Thomas Friedrich, argues that more surveillance is necessary and supports broad herd screening. Checking cows for viral antibodies could reveal important information about the scope of the outbreak even beyond identifying active illnesses.

 Assessing Risks to Humans and Mitigation Measures

Although pasteurised milk should not worry the general public because it is supposed to neutralise the H5N1 virus, precautions should be taken. It is prudent to avoid raw or unpasteurized milk and to take extra safety measures like as masks, hand washing often, and changing work clothes for dairy farm workers.

Regarding future issues, virologists stress the need of increased awareness and preventative screening procedures to quickly identify and eliminate possible risks.

In conclusion, the present state of affairs emphasises the need of proactive measures and thorough monitoring in preserving public health even if it hasn't reached a critical point. The secret to preventing problems tomorrow is to be alert now.

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