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CFIA monitoring for avian flu in Canadian dairy cattle after U.S. discoveries

OTTAWA — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is encouraging veterinarians to keep an eye out for signs of avian influenza in dairy cattle following recent discoveries of cases of the disease in U.S. cow herds.

Avian influenza has not been discovered in dairy cattle or other livestock in Canada. But since March, U.S. officials have confirmed cases of the illness in dairy cow herds in nine states.

Officials suspect that wild birds may have spread the virus to the cattle, though it appears cattle experience a milder form of the illness than birds.

No cows have died from the virus, and affected cattle typically recover with a couple of weeks.

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Avian influenza has not had any impact on the trade of cattle or the products. The virus does not pose a food safety concern and the CFIA says the risk of transmission to humans remains low.

The CFIA is asking veterinarians and cattle producers to watch for signs of illness, such as a sudden decrease in milk production or changes in milk thickness.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2024.

The Canadian Press