MANHATTAN, KAN. - The Kansas Department of Agriculture reports that bird flu has been found at two commercial dairy herds.

An agriculture department press release says testing suggests that mammals can not spread the virus to other mammals and says there is no threat to humans.

It is the first time the bird flu has been documented in commercial dairy farms in Kansas. Cattle in Texas and New Mexico have also test positive.

 

Kansas avian influenza 

 

Avian influenza is also killing tens of thousands of seals and sea lions in different corners of the world. Scientists say seals from Maine to Chile appear to be especially vulnerable to the disease.

Meanwhile, egg prices are at near historic highs in some part so the world this Easter.

Global prices are lower than they were at this time last year, but are not expected to return to levels prior to the 2022 bird flu outbreak any time soon.

In 2022, 131 million poultry worldwide die or were culled on farms.

The average price of a dozen eggs was $4.21 last year, but is down to $2.99 in February. Customers paid about $1.59 before the avian flu outbreak.

Kansas has no quarantines in place, but bird flu has been monitored in two counties of northern Kansas, including Doniphan County south of Falls City.

 

Here is the ag department press release:


The Kansas Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA– APHIS), has identified highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in two commercial dairy operations. These are the first cases of HPAI in commercial dairy operations in Kansas. Initial testing by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories has not found changes to the virus that indicate mammal-to-mammal transmission, indicating that the risk to the public remains low.

At this stage, there is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health. The pasteurization process of heating milk to a high temperature ensures milk and dairy products can be safely consumed, as confirmed by  the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In line with long-standing policy, the CDC does not recommend consuming unpasteurized milk or raw milk. Pasteurization has continually proven to successfully inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. Dairies are also required to only allow milk from healthy animals to enter the food supply chain.

We continue to encourage all dairy producers to closely monitor their herd and contact their local veterinarian immediately if cattle appear infected. Symptoms are mostly restricted to late-stage lactating cows and include a drop in milk production, loss of appetite, and changes in manure consistency. We encourage dairy producers to minimize wildlife access to their dairy cattle’s water and feed sources.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment works to protect and improve the health of all Kansans. The agency has been notified of the findings and will monitor the situation as they did for HPAI when it was found in the poultry industry.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to serving Kansas farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and the consumers/customers they serve while promoting public health and safety, protecting animal health, and providing consumer protection and food safety to the best of our ability.