Raw milk from infected cows - Risk of H5N1 transmission

May 28, 2024

By Farms.com

Raw milk from infected dairy cows may carry risks of H5N1 transmission, warns recent research. Mice fed raw milk from H5N1-infected cows showed high virus levels in respiratory organs, indicating potential transmission through consumption.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, underscores the threat of H5N1 transmission from animals to humans. While the virus has primarily affected wild birds and poultry, recent outbreaks among dairy cows in the US have sparked concerns about broader transmission.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory conducted experiments feeding mice raw milk samples from infected dairy cows. The mice exhibited signs of illness, with high virus levels detected in their respiratory organs.

Temperature and time intervals for pasteurization were also examined. Results showed that pasteurization at specific temperatures effectively reduced H5N1 levels in raw milk, highlighting the importance of proper milk processing for public health.

Despite laboratory findings, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that the commercial milk supply remains safe. However, continued monitoring and research are crucial to ensure ongoing safety.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded the research, signaling recognition of the importance of studying zoonotic diseases like H5N1.

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