USA – The US government, through the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has unveiled a comprehensive strategy to address the escalating threat of avian flu (H5N1) in US dairy cattle.

With an allocation of US$200 million, various initiatives aim to mitigate the spread of the virus and ensure the safety and stability of beef and milk supplies.

Among the key measures outlined by the USDA is a financial injection of US$101 million earmarked for prevention and treatment efforts.

Additionally, individual farms stand to receive up to US$28,000 each to bolster testing and biosecurity measures, crucial for containing the spread of the virus.

Funding totaling US$98 million will also be directed to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to spearhead these initiatives, with the USDA prepared to allocate further resources if necessary, subject to Congressional approval.

Collaborating with the HHS, the USDA is prioritizing risk management for livestock owners and producers, offering financial support for lost milk production in herds affected by H5N1.

“We are taking a series of additional steps to help achieve these goals and reduce the impact of H5N1 on affected premises and producers,” the department stated.

“In partnership with the HHS, we are taking new actions through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA to increase testing and laboratory screening and testing capacity, genomic sequencing and other interventions to protect the health and safety of dairy and other potentially impacted food items.”

Recognizing the potential threat of the virus spillover from animals to humans, the USDA added that it is providing financial incentives for producers to supply personal protective equipment to employees.

Producers facilitating their workers’ participation in USDA/CDC workplace and farmworker studies will also receive incentives, along with support for developing biosecurity plans for individuals involved in routine dairy farm activities.

Moreover, the USDA is incentivizing the implementation of heat treatment systems for waste milk disposal, offering financial assistance to producers who adopt such measures.

Veterinary costs for treating infected cattle, sample collection, and testing logistics are also covered to alleviate financial burdens on dairy farmers during treatment.

The HHS, through agencies like the CDC and FDA, is intensifying efforts to monitor and respond to the outbreak, investing millions in testing, virus sequencing, surveillance, and safety protocols for the commercial milk supply.

Collaboration with state partners further strengthens efforts to mitigate the risk and prevent the spread of H5N1 among both humans and animals.

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