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Bird flu: $200 million in funding for outbreak on US dairy farms

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Γρίπη των πτηνών: Κονδύλι 200 εκατ. δολαρίων για την επιδημία στις γαλακτοκομικές φάρμες των ΗΠΑ

FILE PHOTO: Dairy cows feed in Chino, California April 25, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo/File Photo

Particles of the virus are detected in 20% of milk samples on the market. For now, however, the risk to humans remains “low”.

Amidst fears of a disruption in the food market and the possible transmission of the disease to humans, the US government announced that it would allocate $200 million to stop the bird flu epidemic on dairy farms.

Since late March, cow herds in at least nine states have tested positive for H5N1 bird flu, raising concern that the virus could mutate and gain the ability to transmit between humans.

The outbreak is believed to be actually much more widespread, after virus particles were detected in 20% of milk samples on the market.

Pasteurized milk is considered safe, but consumers are advised not to buy unpasteurized milk, where the virus can survive.

“The risk to the public remains low” reassured Health Minister Javier Becerra announcing the new measures.

Of the nearly $200 million in the new initiative, $98 will be provided by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), which will provide up to $28,000 per farm for animal and milk molecular testing and prevention measures of transmission to humans.

“The USDA is doing everything necessary to monitor and eliminate H5N1 from dairy herds,” US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said according to Reuters.

An additional $101 million will be allocated by the Department of Health and Human Services for measures to protect public health and food safety, which will be implemented by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of Diseases (CDC).

Of this amount, 34 million will be allocated for laboratory tests, 8 million for vaccines and 3 million for monitoring the viral load in wastewater. Eight million will be allocated for milk product safety reasons.

To limit transmission on farms, the Ministry of Agriculture requires from April 29 a mandatory negative test for moving cows to another state. In the first week of the measure, 112 of 905 tests were likely positive.

So far only one human case has been reported in the US, in a dairy farm worker in Texas who developed conjunctivitis but recovered uneventfully.

source: in.gr

Source: 24h.com.cy

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