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WHO Reports H5N1 Bird Flu Virus Detected in Milk

In a press release on Friday, the World Health Organization reported that the H5N1 bird flu virus had been detected in high concentrations in raw milk from infected mammals.

The report comes a month after the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed the first human case of H5N1.

During the press briefing in Geneva, Wenqing Zhang, WHO’s head of the global influenza program, said that H5N1 has been detected in raw milk from infected mammals.

Wenqing Zhang, WHO’s head of the global influenza program, stated, “Bird-to-cow, cow-to-cow, transmissions have been registered during these current outbreaks, which suggests cow-to-bird tra that the virus may have found other routes of transition than we previously understood.”

Zhang continued to share that the virus was discovered in “very high virus concentration in raw milk” that was not pasteurized.

Per Barron’s:

The H5N1 bird flu virus strain has been detected in very high concentrations in raw milk from infected animals, the WHO said Friday, though how long the virus can survive in milk is unknown.

Avian influenza A(H5N1) first emerged in 1996 but since 2020, the number of outbreaks in birds has grown exponentially, alongside an increase in the number of infected mammals.

The strain has led to the deaths of tens of millions of poultry, with wild birds and land and marine mammals also infected.

Cows and goats joined the list last month — a surprising development for experts because they were not thought to be susceptible to this type of influenza.

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