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Board of Animal Health: Negative H5N1 test required to show dairy cows

A cow munches on hay at South Mountain Creamery in Middleton, Maryland, on Aug.10, 2014.
Contributed
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Lorie Shaull
A cow munches on hay at South Mountain Creamery in Middleton, Maryland, on Aug.10, 2014.

The testing requirements come amid increased H5N1 influenza infection in dairy cows. The requirements are effective through the end of the year.

ST. PAUL — As the season of county fairs and other agricultural events approaches, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced new testing requirements for lactating dairy cows effective Tuesday, June 18.

All dairy cows producing milk must have both a negative H5N1 influenza test result and a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection to attend any exhibition in Minnesota.

The requirements are effective through the end of the year.

The influenza strain found most commonly in birds is still being studied. But Dr. Katie Cornille, the senior veterinarian of cattle programs, said milk and udders appear to be a hotspot for the virus on infected cows.

"Which makes showing lactating dairy at events a higher risk," Cornille said in a news release. "Requiring a negative test before an exhibition reduces that risk."

A veterinarian must oversee or collect samples from each animal traveling to the exhibition within seven days before arriving at the event. Samples must be sent to a National Animal Health Laboratory Network Laboratory. Once a negative result is received for an animal, it can move within Minnesota for 10 days from the sample collection date to locations specified on the certificate.

If cows test positive, producers will be notified to begin quarantine and a disease investigation. Results will be confidential, with positive tests identified only by county.

Livestock owners can find additional biosecurity recommendations for attending exhibitions on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.

According to the USDA, 90 dairy herds across 12 states, including Minnesota, have been affected as of June 13.