Bovine Veterinary Group Names Illness: Bovine Influenza A Virus

Updated April 10, 2024

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) is recommending a new name for the illness that has been making dairy cows sick in several states: Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV).

In a letter written by AABP's Executive Director Fred Gingrich and President Michael Capel, both veterinarians, they stated the illness seen recently in dairy cows should be called BIAV instead of how it has been called Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)or bird flu in cattle.

"While the virus is the same, it has different symptoms in cattle and thus we want to be sure the name reflects this virus in cattle," Gingrich told DTN.

Confirmed Cases of HPAI in Domestic Livestock as of 4/7/24

The virus isolated from the affected dairy cows has been identified as avian influenza virus Type A H5N1. While this virus causes high morbidity and mortality in birds, it does not have the same effect on cattle.

The AABP doesn't believe that this illness should be referred to as "HPAI in cattle" or "bird flu in cattle" due to these differences.

While for now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, APHIS, and other organizations are still referring to the illness officially as HPAI, AABP said it will refer to the disease as BIAV in all its messaging.

AABP is encouraging other organizations, state animal health officials, diagnostic labs and state and federal agencies to use this name as well. The organization said this will make the messaging more consistent and better distinguish the disease syndrome in cattle from that observed in birds.

The AABP explained it is important for the public to understand the difference between the avian flu in birds and the illness in cattle, and what is being done to help livestock. This helps maintain confidence in the safety and accessibility of dairy and beef products for consumers.

Gingrich stressed the importance of good biosecurity measures on dairy farms to help slow or prevent any further spreading of the disease. He said the milk and meat supplies remain safe for consumers. The virus is killed with heat, thus why milk is safe due to the pasteurization process.

Source:  DTN