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Bird Flu’s Spread Prompts FDA’s Intensive Testing Across 17 US States

Bird Flu Infections in the US States

United States: With every passing day, the concerns and tensions regarding the increasing bird flu infection has been increasing. Recently, the health authorities are on high alert because the possibility of human infection linked to bird flu has been proportionally increasing because the virus has started impacting cows and cattle. 

After witnessing this surge, the health authorities have been regularly analysing the wastewater and raw milk. This week, the US Food and Drug Administration analysed the samples of milk and other dairy products in 17 states and has highlighted that there is higher probability that residue of the virus can be found in the test samples.  

The United States Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that it had conducted an extensive examination of retail dairy samples in 17 states to detect the presence of the bird flu virus. This initiative was part of a broader effort to provide more detailed insights into the previously reported testing locations, as highlighted by Reuters. 

The FDA specified that between April 18 and April 22, it amassed 297 samples from retail outlets in 17 states. These samples were representative of products originating from 132 processing facilities spread across 38 states.

“Even if a sample was collected in one particular state, the milk in a consumer package could have come from cows on several farms located in several states, pasteurized in a different state from where the milk was produced, and available for purchase in yet another state,” the agency highlighted in its statement, Reuters reported. 

Since late March, the United States has confirmed cases of avian influenza in dairy cattle across nine states.

On May 10, the FDA reported that no live virus had been detected in the retail milk samples. They reiterated that pasteurized milk remains safe for consumption, although they advised against the intake of raw milk.

Nevertheless, scientists have indicated that the outbreak could be more extensive than initially thought, citing the FDA’s findings that approximately 20% of retail milk samples contained fragments of the H5N1 virus.

The array of samples tested included not only milk but also cottage cheese, cream, half-and-half (a mixture of equal parts milk and cream), sour cream, and yogurt, as mentioned by Reuters. 

The FDA’s proactive measures underscored the importance of continuous monitoring and safety assurance in the nation’s dairy supply chain, aiming to mitigate public health risks associated with the avian influenza outbreak.

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