Bird flu has been an issue in Minnesota, all across the United States, and even the world for a little while now. But now, bird flu has infected dairy cows in many states in the US.

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Where Did this Bird Flu Come From?

This particular bird flu we're talking about is H5N1. The CDC has recorded that the "wild bird-adapted HPAI H5N1 viruses were first identified in Europe during the fall of 2020". From there it spread into Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Wille Bird Turkey Farm Gets Ready For Thanksgiving
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

It didn't hit the US until January 2022 when the CDC recorded the first infection in wild birds. Then, in February 2022, the first commercial outbreak happened in a flock of turkeys.

How Bird Flu has Impacted Us So Far

First felt the hit of bird flu on our bank accounts due to the increase in the cost of eggs, chicken, turkey, etc. The costs seem to have come back down a bit. However, we may feel that pain again but with dairy products this time.

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How Bird Flu was Transmitted from Birds to Cows

There are multiple reports of dairy cows across the US getting infected with this bird flu. How in the world did it go from birds to cows?

Black and white calf

The CDC wrote in an article talking about the bird flu in cows:

"Mammals can be infected with H5N1 bird flu viruses when they eat infected birds, poultry, or other animals and/or if they are exposed to environments contaminated with virus."

Where Dairy Cows are Infected with Bird Flu

As of writing this article, nine states have at least one herd of dairy cows infected with bird flu. Those states are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas.

So there are no herds infected in Minnesota... yet, anyway. But, this absolutely still affects us here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

How This Affects Us in Minnesota

Dairy cows now being infected with bird flu is a concern for dairy farmers and also dairy consumers. And I'm no scientist, but I wouldn't be surprised if it eventually spreads to Minnesota herds.

Holstein cow with tongue sticking out

Another way that this affects us is if you buy dairy products from other states. Lancaster Farming says the top-producing dairy states in 2023 were California, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Washington.

Idaho, Texas, Michigan, and New Mexico all have herds with infected cattle.

My suggestion is to take a peek at where your dairy comes from before buying it. And it's from a local farmer, even better!

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