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Avian Flu more contagious to animals than humans according to MSU researcher

Sign in front of MSU Dairy Cattle Teaching & Research Center
Posted at 6:45 PM, Jun 05, 2024
  • The Avian Flu has infected three U.S. farm workers including two in Michigan
  • MSU researcher says the virus is more dangerous to animals than humans
  • Michigan health officials are urging people to postpone trips to dairy or poultry farms to avoid spreading the virus

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as Avian Flu, is making its impact on our neighborhoods.

For the past six weeks, signs outside the Michigan State University Dairy Cattle Teaching & Research Center in East Lansing have kept most people away from the building.

It comes as Michigan health officials urge the public to postpone any field trips to dairy or poultry farms to keep the virus from spreading.

Dr. Kim Dodd is the director of MSU's Veterinarian Diagnostic Lab, the only lab in the state that's approved to test animals like birds and cattle for any diseases.

Dodd says the risk to the public is low but it's more contagious to animals. That's why Dodd says it's important to stay away from any infected animals or venues.

Dr. Kim Dodd, director of Michigan State University's Veterinarian Diagnostic Lab

"That creates a risk that we could carry the virus with us somewhere else and expose healthy animals," Dodd said.

Dr. Dodd says milk produced by infected cows contain a large amount of the virus but says it's safe to drink as long as it's pasteurized.

"Pasteurization kills the virus so our milk supply is safe," Dodd said.

Since April the disease has been detected in dairy cattle from Clinton and Ingham counties. Dodd says they'll continue providing samples to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other groups to look for potential mutations of Avian Flu.

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