Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza - Current Recommendations for Beef Producers

May 09, 2024

By Frank Wardynski

HPAI has infected dairy cattle in Michigan and other states. Though no known infections have been reported in beef cattle, Michigan State University Extension recommends that beef producers be diligent in their biosecurity efforts.

While there are no known Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) infections reported in beef cattle at the time of writing this article, the purpose of this article is to make beef producers aware of the potential for infection and management practices they should use to help prevent infection. Since any disease contagious to dairy cattle can also be contracted by beef cattle, beef producers should know the potential risks, symptoms of the disease and the importance of following biosecurity protocols.

The most obvious symptoms of HPAI in dairy cattle have been reduced feed intake and milk production. Secondary visual signs include fatigue, dehydration, tacky or loose manure and elevated body temperature. Some of these signs could be confused with common respiratory disease. Dairy producers should consult with their veterinarian if they suspect cattle are infected with HPAI. Also, dairy producers should be aware that HPAI has infected humans and they should take necessary precautions to help prevent disease contraction to themselves and workers.

The most important management decision beef producers can implement is to use biosecurity measures to stop the disease from coming onto the farm. Beef Quality Assurance biosecurity guidelines should be implemented and additional information for developing biosecurity plans can be found on the Secure Beef Supply website. Avoid bringing outside animals onto the farm or at least know they are healthy at the originating farm. Animals should only be transported in trailers that have been cleaned and disinfected from the last cattle hauled.

Keep new animals isolated from current livestock. With HPAI it appears that the incubation time is approximately 14 days, therefore, the quarantine time should be 21 days. Limit visitor access to the farm and livestock and know they are not coming from an infected farm. Keep footwear and clothing clean and designated for the farm. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recommends that a log be kept of all vehicles and people that enter and exit the farm, as well as a place and way to wash and disinfect vehicles and boots.

The Michigan State University Extension Beef Team wants to ensure that producers understand the potential risks associated with HPAI and that they develop and implement biosecurity protocols. Producers should be aware of the issue and continue to look for updated information.

As an added piece of information, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has tested 30 samples of ground beef from states that have dairy cows testing positive for HPAI. All samples tested negative and indicate that the beef supply is safe.

Source : msu.edu
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