April 15, 2024


Maryland, US calls for cattle, poultry owners to boost biosecurity amid bird flu outbreak


In response to a recent human case of H5N1 bird flu detected in Texas, US, the Department of Agriculture in Maryland, US is taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus into the state, which includes placing restrictions on cattle movement and transportation, along with urging poultry and livestock owners to enhance their biosecurity protocols, Maryland Matters reported.


While avian flu is typically found in birds, cases have recently been identified in herds of cattle across the US, including Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Idaho, Ohio, North Carolina, and New Mexico. This unprecedented spread of the virus to mammals, particularly dairy cows, has raised concerns among public health officials nationwide.


Maryland, however, has not reported any cases of avian flu. The Maryland Department of Agriculture is urging vigilance among cattle and poultry owners and emphasising the importance of promptly reporting any signs of illness in their animals.


Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Atticks has issued an order restricting the movement and transfer of cattle from states with confirmed avian flu cases, effective through May 29, 2024, unless revoked sooner. This order aims to mitigate the risk of introducing the virus into Maryland.


According to a recent announcement, the department emphasises the importance of maintaining biosecurity measures on farms to prevent the transmission of the virus. Poultry and livestock owners are encouraged to remain vigilant and promptly report any suspected cases of bird flu to state agriculture officials.


The recent detection of H5N1 in dairy cows and subsequent infection of a dairy farm employee have heightened concerns among scientists and public health experts. While the risk of transmission through commercial dairy milk is low due to pasteurisation, proper precautions are essential to prevent further spread.


The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise individuals to avoid direct contact with sick or dead animals and to ensure proper handling and cooking of poultry products. While human infections with H5N1 are rare, individuals should be aware of symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary.


As the situation evolves, the CDC has urged state health and agriculture officials to prepare for potential public health risks associated with avian influenza. Collaboration between public health and agriculture departments at the state level is crucial to effectively respond to emerging threats.


-      Maryland Matters

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