The dairy industry really, really doesn’t want you to say “bird flu in cows”

How industrial meat and dairy trap us in an infectious disease cycle ...

VOX – H5N1, or bird flu, has hit dairy farms — but the dairy industry doesn’t want us saying so.

The current, highly virulent strain of avian flu had already been ripping through chicken and turkey farms over the past two years.

Since it jumped to US dairy cows for the first time last month, it’s infected more than 20 dairy herds across eight states, raising alarms among public health authorities about possible spread to humans and potential impacts on the food supply.

One Texas dairy worker contracted a mild case of bird flu from one of the impacted farms — the second such case ever recorded in the US (though one of hundreds worldwide over the past two decades, most of them fatal).

Map showing eight US states that have detected bird flu in dairy cows as of April 12: Texas, Michigan, Idaho, New Mexico, Kansas, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Ohio.

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Whatever fear-mongering you may have seen on social media, we are not on the cusp of a human bird flu pandemic; the chances of further human spread currently remain low. But that could change. As the virus jumps among new mammal species like cows, the risk that it’ll evolve to be able to spread between humans does increase.

But the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), an organization of beef and dairy veterinarians, declared in a statement (condemned by public health experts) last week that it doesn’t believe bird flu in cows should be considered bird flu at all.

“The AABP will call this disease Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV),” the association’s executive director K. Fred Gingrich II and president Michael Capel said in a statement …


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