Milk

Bird flu detected for the first time in raw cow milk in ‘very high concentrations’; WHO issues warning | Health News

Bird flu has also moved to other mammals, cats, humans, bats, foxes, mink and penguins. Cows also recently joined the same group earlier this month. So far, bird-to-cow and cow-to-cow and cow-to-bird transmission have been registered during the current outbreaks. This means that the virus has other routes of transmission as well than what was previously understood.


Pasteurised milk, which is prominently sold in supermarkets, is processed to kill harmful bacteria and this makes relatively safer for intake.

New Delhi: Bird flu has been detected in ‘very high concentrations’ in milk and as per the World Health Organisation (WHO), this was found in raw milk in the US. The H5N1 first emerged in 1996. However, since 2020, the number of outbreaks in birds has grown and it has led to the deaths of millions of wild birds and poultry globally. Pasteurised milk, which is prominently sold in supermarkets, is processed to kill harmful bacteria and this makes it relatively safer for intake.

Bird flu in raw cow milk

The H5N1 infection has also moved to other mammals, cats, humans, bats, foxes, mink and penguins. Cows also recently joined the same group earlier this month. As per a report by the UN, H5N1 infections in dairy herds and since then confirmed cases are under investigation in eight states including Texas, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Idaho, Ohio, North Carolina, and South Dakota.

US authorities earlier this month said that an individual had tested positive for bird flu after getting exposed to the infection while working at a dairy farm in Texas. The patient was also recovering from bird flu after being exposed to cattle. It is also said that the Texas case was the first-ever human case wherein one was infected by avian influenza by a cow.

So far, bird-to-cow and cow-to-cow and cow-to-bird transmission have been registered during the current outbreaks. This means that the virus has other routes of transmission as well than what was previously understood. Researchers are now noting multiple herds of cows affected in a higher number of US states. This shows a further step in virus spillover to mammals. Researchers have noted high concentrations of the virus in raw milk from infected cows. However, experts are still investigating how the virus survives in milk.

As per the Texas Health Department, cattle infections do not affect the commercial supply of milk as dairies are required to destroy milk obtained from sick cows. The process of pasteurisation helps ensure the safety of such foods. In the past 20 years, 887 people have been infected with bird flu and 462 have died. To avoid the infection, it is advised to avoid contact with wild birds like pigeons, seagulls, and swans.

What are the symptoms of bird flu?

The symptoms of bird flu are:

  1. Aching muscles
  2. High temperature
  3. Feeling too hot
  4. Shivering
  5. Headaches
  6. Diarrhoea
  7. Shortness of breath
  8. Coughing
  9. Conjunctivitis
  10. Sickness
  11. Chest pain
  12. Stomach pain
  13. Bleeding from the gums and nose

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