U.S – The Texas agriculture sector is on high alert as confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have been identified in dairy operations across Texas and Kansas.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller provided an update on the situation, emphasizing the collaborative efforts of state and federal agencies to monitor and mitigate the impact on the dairy industry.

Diagnostic samples from dairy operations in Texas and Kansas revealed the presence of HPAI, prompting swift action from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The virus was detected in unpasteurized milk samples and through oropharyngeal swab tests, raising concerns about potential transmission routes.

Authorities believe that wild birds may have introduced the HPAI virus to the affected dairy farms. While the risk to public health remains low, ongoing epidemiological investigations are underway to understand the full extent of the situation.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have not observed changes in the virus that would enhance its transmissibility to humans.

Commissioner Miller acknowledged the challenges faced by dairy producers, particularly in the Texas Panhandle, and assured the public of continued efforts to maintain safety standards in agriculture.

Strict protocols, including the segregation of affected cows and the exclusion of their milk from the food supply chain, are being enforced to safeguard consumers.

Biosecurity measures

Enhanced biosecurity measures are being recommended for all dairy facilities to prevent further spread of HPAI.

Collaboration between federal agencies, state authorities, veterinary laboratories, and dairy veterinarians is crucial in assessing symptoms, providing care to affected animals, and conducting diagnostic evaluations.

Farmers are urged to promptly contact their herd veterinarians if they observe flu-like symptoms or decreased milk production in their dairy cattle.

Veterinary diagnostic laboratories such as the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) are available to provide guidance and support in conducting necessary tests and assessments.

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