Pasteurized milk ‘safe’ against bird flu: US officials

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Milk sold in US stores is “safe” against bird flu because pasteurization effectively kills the disease, US health authorities said on Friday, after the infection spread among herds of cows.

An outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu (HPAI) has made its way into dairy herds across the country and infected one human, who had mild symptoms.

On Thursday, the FDA reported that initial results from a nationally representative commercial milk sampling showed that about one in five retail milk samples tested positive for viral fragments, with a higher rate in areas where herds are infected.

The FDA had announced earlier this week that it was unlikely to pose a health risk via milk thanks to the pasteurization process. But it said additional testing was needed.

Preliminary results indicated that “pasteurization is effective in inactivating HPAI,” the FDA said in its news release Friday.

Bird flu has previously been found in raw milk, which health authorities have long advised against consumption.

Although the H5N1 strain of HPAI has killed millions of poultry during the current wave, affected cows have not become seriously ill.

According to the FDA’s Friday release, information from U.S. health officials “continues to show no increase in human cases of influenza and no cases of H5N1, specifically, other than the one known case.”

There is currently no evidence of human-to-human transmission of bird flu, but scientists fear that a mutation in the virus could allow it to spread between people.

© 2024 AFP

Quote: Pasteurized milk ‘safe’ against bird flu: US officials (2024, April 27) retrieved April 28, 2024 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-04-pasteurized-safe-bird-flu.html

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