Bird Flu Outbreak: Avian Influenza Virus Detected in US Livestock for The First After Infecting Baby Goat

The bird flu outbreak has struck livestock in the United States for the first time amid the current bird-borne infections that re-emerged in recent years. According to local authorities, the latest developments surrounding the outbreak came after the avian influenza virus from the disease was detected in a baby goat. The spread of the avian flu to US livestock is the continuance of the pathogen’s infection of mammals.

Bird Flu Hits US Livestock

Bird Flu Outbreak: Avian Influenza Virus Detected in US Livestock for The First After Infecting Baby Goat
(Photo : Photo by Robert Schwarz on Unsplash)

In a news release earlier this week, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced that a baby goat from Stevens County, Minnesota, tested positive for the same influenza virus affecting poultry populations. The detection of bird flu from the “goat kid” confirms the first instance that the virus has infiltrated US livestock.

During the initial phase of the outbreak, poultry remained the main host of the bird flu virus but it eventually transmitted to mammals in other parts of the world, including Europe and South America. In October 2023, scientists detected avian influenza among birds in the remote Antarctic region in the southern hemisphere.

The rapid spread of the bird-borne disease indicates that it could further reach other continents, based on trajectories seen from previous research.

Also Read: Bird Flu Detected in Antarctica for the First Time Raises Risk of Catastrophic Breeding Failure Among Isolated Penguins

What is the Cause of Bird Flu?

Bird flu is a disease that naturally spreads among wild aquatic birds worldwide and it is caused by infection from avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. It can also infect domestic poultry and other animal species, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While bird flu viruses do not typically infect humans, they have been recorded to spread via zoonotic transmissions before.

In a January 2024 study, researchers found there are differences in geographic and annual temporal patterns with regard to the spread of avian influenza. This comes after the authors of the research paper conducted surveillance in live bird markets across Vietnam from March 2017 to September 2022. The study was co-authored by the CDC and published in the journal Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.

Bird Flu History

In 1997, human infections from the avian flu viruses were reported in poultry Hong Kong. During the onset of the 21st century, the virus then spread in bird populations worldwide, from Asia to Europe and Africa in 2003. In 2014, related sporadic human infections were reported almost exclusively from China. In 2021, bird flu reached the Americas and has become endemic among poultry populations in multiple countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Just like other viruses, influenza viruses are impossible to completely eradicate from the face of the Earth. This fact also allows the continuance of zoonotic infections in the future, according to the WHO. While bird flu symptoms are milder compared with other pathogenic diseases, they can still cause severe illness and death if patients are not treated.

Due to this threat, the international health body warns the public against contact with infected animals or consumption of animal meat tainted with the bird flu virus.

Related Article: Bird Flu Outbreak in Seals Causes Urgent Mitigation Efforts to Slow Down the Virus Spread

© 2024 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.