Raw milk from cows with chook flu incorporates viruses able to transmitting the illness | Science | EUROtoday

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A workforce of scientists has found for the primary time infectious extremely pathogenic avian influenza viruses within the uncooked milk of cows affected by the illness, as introduced this Friday by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, within the United States. This subtype of the virus has induced the dying of tons of of hundreds of thousands of birds worldwide since 2021 and was first detected two months in the past in cows, with delicate signs, on American farms. The new work has proven that ingesting this milk with viral particles causes the illness in mice.

The authors warn that avian flu viruses can stay infective for “several weeks” in uncooked milk saved within the fridge. A spokesperson for the National Federation of Dairy Industries—the Spanish employers' affiliation—recollects that, no matter this new information, uncooked milk is “a food of possible risk to people's health,” by inflicting microbial infections, comparable to salmonellosis. and listeriosis, so its consumption is discouraged in any case. In Spain, sellers are required to incorporate a label with the indication “Raw milk without heat treatment: Consume only after boiling for at least one minute.”

The virologist Inmaculada Casas celebrates the effectiveness of the worldwide surveillance system, which has made it doable to establish the pathogen in cows for the primary time and detect a large number of jumps to different species. “People who drink milk without any type of heat treatment may be at risk if it is infected by the virus,” says Casas, head of the Influenza and Respiratory Viruses Laboratory of the National Center for Microbiology, within the Madrid city of Majadahonda.

The skilled emphasizes that, for the second, solely two instances of contagion of avian flu from cows to people have been detected, on a farm in Texas and one other in Michigan, in each with very delicate signs, comparable to conjunctivitis. “In the mice in the new experiment, a systemic infection did occur. In people, this is very rare. With all the millions of birds, seals and sea lions infected in South America, there have only been two serious human cases, one in Ecuador and the other in Chile. For the animal world, it is extremely worrying, because many animals are dying,” Casas warns.

Only about 30 instances have been recorded in people worldwide since 2021, most of them delicate or asymptomatic, after contact with contaminated animals, in response to the World Health Organization (WHO) rely. No human-to-human transmission has been detected. The WHO considers that the chance to public well being is “low”, however American epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove, director of the group's rising ailments unit, issued a warning this Friday: “With almost complete certainty, we will have another pandemic.” of flu all through our lives.”

“Disturbing because it is a transmission route that had never been described until now for influenza”

Angela Vázquez, CSIC

Virologist Elisa Pérez, from the Animal Health Research Center, expresses her concern. “The risk is increasing more and more and there are already at least two cases of contagion in people through contact with infected cows. Until now all H5N1 cases have occurred through close contact with sick or dead birds. Therefore, we are facing a situation of extremely high uncertainty, with a virus that historically only affected poultry, replicating massively in wild birds on all continents, except Oceania, and jumping increasingly frequently to mammals,” she explains. . “We are not just talking about wild mammals (sea lions, foxes, bears…) with little contact with humans, we are already talking about minks on fur farms in Spain and Finland, domestic cats in Poland, South Korea and the United States and Finally, thousands of cows in the United States,” he warns.

Pérez emphasizes that the consumption of uncooked milk is just not that unusual within the American inhabitants. 4.4% of adults declare to have taken it at the least as soon as within the final yr, in response to a research revealed in 2022 by the United States Food and Drug Administration, with information from surveys performed between 2016 and 2019. On 1, 6% claimed to eat uncooked milk at the least as soon as a month. “I think we now have enough information for health authorities to prohibit the consumption of raw milk in the United States, at least until the current situation is controlled,” says the virologist from the Animal Health Research Center.

In simply two months, chook flu has been detected on 58 dairy farms within the United States. On April 29, the nation's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the invention of two lifeless cats on a Texas farm, with widespread an infection with the virus, after ingesting uncooked milk.

“We now have enough information for health authorities to prohibit the consumption of raw milk in the United States”

Elisa Pérez, Animal Health Research Center

The outcomes of the brand new experiment, revealed within the specialised journal New England Journal of Medicine, present that the mice, after consuming 50 microliters of contaminated uncooked milk, started to have signs the subsequent day, comparable to lethargy and bristly fur. On the fourth day they have been euthanized, in order that their organs could possibly be studied. The an infection was systemic, together with in her mammary glands.

Two Spanish virologists, Ángela Vázquez and Antonio Alcamí, confirmed for the primary time the presence of the virus in Antarctica, on February 24, in two lifeless skuas (seabirds much like seagulls) discovered by Argentine scientists and analyzed on the Spanish Antarctic base Gabriel of Castile. Vázquez displays on the invention of infectious viruses in uncooked milk. “It is worrying because it is a transmission route that has never been described until now for influenza. It is striking that the virus has been detected in the mammary glands of mice. If this were the case for a woman who is breastfeeding, she would have to consider stopping,” she factors out.

Vázquez, from the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center (CSIC), points a warning to world authorities. “The more humans have the virus, even if it is only with conjunctivitis, the easier it is for it to end up adapting and transmission between people to occur. I think there is no need to be alarmed, but either more controls begin to be put in place, or possibly it will be the next pandemic. It is true that the cases observed in humans are not very lethal, but the collapse in the system could be similar to that of covid,” he warns.

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