Since 2022, US poultry farmers have been dealing with a national outbreak of what is referred to as Avian bird flu, or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).  You may have seen stories about poultry flocks being quarantined or even euthanized because of the outbreak.

Now for the first time a farm mammal (cow, sheep, horse, bull etc) has tested positive for influenza.

  Minnesota goat dies from the virus

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health released information Thursday saying a kid or juvenile goat that died tested positive. The goat was part of a herd in Stevens County.

Earlier this month, the farmer reported to the Animal Board of health there had been several unusual deaths among his kid goats  The goats had shared a space previously occupied by a poultry flock that was quarantined for the Avian flu in February and had also shared the same water source.

According to the Board:

 "This is the first U.S. detection of HPAI in a domestic ruminant (cattle, sheep, goats, and their relatives)."

The Board's news release also said:

"HPAI has been previously diagnosed in other mammalian species such as skunks, dogs and cats. Animals with weakened or immature immune systems, like the goat kids in this case, are at higher risk of contracting disease."

However, officials also say it appears these latest mammals do not show signs of being spreading carriers of the virus: According to the Board:

“This finding is significant because, while the spring migration is definitely a higher risk transmission period for poultry, it highlights the possibility of the virus infecting other animals on farms with multiple species,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Brian Hoefs. “Thankfully, research to-date has shown mammals appear to be dead-end hosts, which means they’re unlikely to spread HPAI further.”

Officials say on farms where there has been HPAI, they urge growers to separate their animals and closely monitor the health of the other non-infected groups.

LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world

From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Caldwell


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