Canada increases surveillance of highly pathogenic avian influenza in dairy cattle to protect industry

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Canada expands HPAI surveillance in dairy cattle



“Preventing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Canadian Dairy Cattle”

Introduction:
The threat of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) looms over Canadian dairy cattle, prompting the Government of Canada and stakeholders to implement new precautions to safeguard the industry. With the recent discovery of HPAI fragments in U.S. milk, a sense of urgency surrounds the need for heightened surveillance and protective measures to prevent a potential outbreak on Canadian soil.

Enhanced Precautions:
Late last week, the federal government announced a series of measures aimed at expanding avian flu surveillance in Canada. These measures include requiring negative HPAI test results for lactating dairy cattle imported from the United States, conducting enhanced testing of milk at the retail level to detect viral fragments of HPAI, and facilitating voluntary testing of cows showing no clinical signs of the virus to enhance industry biosecurity efforts.

Reassurance and Monitoring:
Despite the presence of HPAI fragments in U.S. milk, authorities in Canada have reassured the public that commercially sold milk and milk products remain safe for consumption. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), along with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada, are closely monitoring the situation to identify any potential risks to food safety and animal health. Swift actions will be taken if any threats are detected to protect Canada’s food supply and livestock.

The Viral Threat:
The virus strain H5N1, Eurasian lineage goose/Guangdong clade 2.3.4.4b, has been identified in dairy herds across nine U.S. states since March. The most recent discovery occurred in Colorado on April 26, underscoring the need for proactive measures to prevent the spread of HPAI to Canadian dairy cattle.

Conclusion:
As the specter of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza looms over Canadian dairy cattle, collaboration between government agencies, stakeholders, and dairy farmers is crucial to prevent a potential outbreak. By implementing enhanced surveillance measures and prioritizing biosecurity efforts, Canada aims to protect its dairy industry and ensure the continued safety of milk and dairy products for consumers. Vigilance and swift action will be key in mitigating the risks posed by HPAI and safeguarding the health and well-being of both animals and humans in Canada’s dairy sector.”



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