Avian influenza has been detected in a North Carolina dairy herd. It’s the first time the virus has impacted the state’s livestock. 

Until this week, the disease, also known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), had been found in cattle in just six states: Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Idaho, New Mexico, and Ohio. 

North Carolina joined the list after a dairy cow that had been moved to the state from one of the impacted herds in Texas tested positive for the disease. 

Heather Overton with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services says the state is now taking steps to contain the virus. 

“North Carolina has spent years developing how to handle HPAI and poultry," said Overton. "This is new, and we're working with our state and federal partners to develop protocols.”

Avian flu outbreaks were reported at nine North Carolina poultry farms in 2022. This year, the disease was detected at two turkey farms in the state. 

Overton says the affected cattle herd is now in isolation and movement of cattle from other impacted states has been suspended. And she says the virus does not affect the safety of pasteurized milk products in the state. 

The risk to the general public from HPAI remains low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just two human cases of the virus have been reported in the United States this year. 

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