State Veterinarian Orders Movement Restriction on Dairy Cattle Due to HPAI

Tennessee State Veterinarian restricts dairy cattle movement from HPAI-affected states to protect local herds.

The Tennessee State Veterinarian has issued an order restricting the movement of dairy cattle from states affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) to Tennessee. As of April 1, 2024, Texas, Kansas, Michigan, and New Mexico have confirmed cases of HPAI in dairy cattle, with a presumptive positive test pending for a herd in Idaho.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed that the strain is H5N1, which has been circulating in wild birds and appears to have been introduced to these herds by wild birds. Although there have been no detections of HPAI in cattle in Tennessee, producers are urged to practice strong biosecurity measures, minimize animal movements, isolate sick cattle, and quarantine new animals for at least two weeks before introducing them to an established herd.

Cattle affected by HPAI may exhibit flu-like symptoms, low appetite, and a sharp reduction in milk production accompanied by thick and discolored milk. Producers suspecting HPAI in their herd should immediately report these signs to their local veterinarian, the State Veterinarian’s Office, or the USDA APHIS.

The CDC confirmed that a person in Texas tested positive for HPAI following exposure to affected cattle, with mild illness and ongoing recovery. There is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply, as dairies are required to send only milk from healthy animals for processing, and pasteurization effectively kills bacteria and viruses like influenza.

Federal, state, and industry partners are working together to monitor cattle illnesses and minimize the impact on farmers, consumers, and other animals. The Tennessee Departments of Agriculture and Health collaborate through the Tennessee One Health Committee to protect and improve the health of animals and people.

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