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May 17, 2024

Feds earmark $200 million to contain bird flu spread on dairy farms

The Biden administration said last week that it will provide nearly $200 million to fight the spread of avian flu among dairy cows, in the government's latest bid to contain outbreaks that have fueled concerns about human infections (Source: “US to provide nearly $200 million to contain bird flu spread on dairy farms,” Reuters, May 10).

The virus has been detected among dairy cattle in nine states since late March. Scientists have said they believe the outbreak is more widespread based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration findings of H5N1 particles in about 20% of retail milk samples.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make $98 million available to provide up to $28,000 per dairy farm for efforts to contain the spread of the virus between animals and humans and for testing milk and animals for the virus. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it would provide $101 million through the FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect public health and the nation's food supply.

While the CDC has said the public health risk is low, scientists are closely watching for changes in the virus that could make it spread more easily among humans.

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