According to an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week, in a survey across the U.S. for milk samples, one in five tested positive for particles of the H5N1 virus. However, soon after the agency released a statement in which it was quick to ensure that the process of pasteurization was able to kill the virus in milk and baby formulas. These findings were corroborated by preliminary results from gold-standard PCR testing.

Although the agency did not clarify the number of milk products tested before arriving at this result, they did share that in future testing will be conducted on approximately 300 products from 38 states.

Previously, the bird flu virus had been detected in raw milk, and therefore health advisors had strictly recommended the public against its use.

Since these announcements, Colorado has also entered the previous list of eight states where this bird flu virus has spread. This situation has suggested that the problem is more widespread than initially thought, and consequently, federal lawmakers are calling for the federal administration to take additional measures to curb this problem.

Scientists from the University of Arizona offered an analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data, which concluded that the spread is more far-reaching than the initially estimated outbreak of the 34 herds across the 9 states of New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota, Idaho, and now Colorado.

So far, the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has only spread to dairy herds, and only one human, a Texan farmer, has been infected with the virus and is only demonstrating mild symptoms like conjunctivitis. It has been determined that it was through exposure to infected cows that this disease transferred to him, but so far both the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put the overall public health risk at low.

An evolutionary biologist from the University of Arizona, Dr. Michael Worobey, was quick to assure that based on the data released by the government regarding the infected dairy cattle, when you compare the virus in the human case with that in the animal samples, they are significantly different.

Although there is currently no evidence to suggest that this virus can be transmitted from person to person in case of mutations, scientists are concerned that something like this may become possible. Such fears have led to a bipartisan push to reinstate the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which was meant to reinforce the country’s medical response in case of a public health emergency and a pandemic. The law lapsed last year, and since then lawmakers like Republican U.S. Senator Mitt Romney have been pushing for it.

Major dairy states like Wisconsin that so far have no reported cases of the virus have also been urging the Biden administration to take preventative action. As a result, starting this week, the United States Department of Agriculture has mandated that before being allowed to travel across state lines, dairy cows must first test negative for bird flu.

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