Michigan Offers Financial Aid and Research Support to Dairy Farms Hit by Avian Influenza

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Michigan is taking decisive action to support dairy farms affected by the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Michigan is taking decisive action to support dairy farms affected by the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Michigan is taking decisive action to support dairy farms affected by the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

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In response to the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) affecting Michigan's dairy farms, The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has announced financial aid, available to up to 20 farms, offering up to $28,000 per farm. This initiative supplements existing funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), aimed at aiding farm recovery and advancing research on the disease.1

To qualify for assistance, eligible farms must collaborate closely with MDARD and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Veterinary Services (APHIS). This collaboration involves conducting epidemiological investigations, participating in longitudinal studies with MDARD and Michigan State University, and engaging in relevant programs under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) as applicable.1

MDARD's approach emphasizes a proactive, science-based strategy to contain the spread of HPAI. This includes a comprehensive 'One Health' framework.1

According to the CDC, ‘One Health’ is an approach emphasizing how human health is closely linked to animal health and the environment. It highlights that changes in one area can impact others, driven by factors like population growth, environmental changes, and global travel. By fostering collaboration among experts in human, animal, and environmental health, One Health aims to improve overall health outcomes for people, animals (including pets, livestock, and wildlife), and the environment.2

MDARD is collaborating with federal, state, and local partners to address both animal and public health concerns. USDA emergency management teams are actively assisting MDARD on-site at all affected poultry facilities across Michigan, while an epidemiological team is deployed to enhance traceability and testing within dairy herds, providing critical real-time data.

Main Takeaways

  1. Michigan's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is providing up to $28,000 per farm in financial aid to support dairy farms affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), complementing USDA efforts.
  2. Michigan's response includes a 'One Health' approach, fostering collaboration between human, animal, and environmental health experts to contain the spread of HPAI and mitigate its impact.
  3. MDARD is actively collaborating with federal, state, and local partners, deploying on-site teams and conducting epidemiological investigations to enhance traceability and testing within dairy herds, ensuring a coordinated response to the outbreak.

CDC’s most recent response to multistate Avian Influenza A(H5N1) outbreak in US

As of June 14, 2024, the CDC continues to address a multistate outbreak of the A(H5N1) virus in dairy cows and other animals across the US. Collaborating with USDA, FDA, state public health, and animal health officials. Three human cases linked to the outbreak had direct contact with infected cows. USDA reports 92 dairy cow herds in 12 states with confirmed A(H5N1) virus infections, with numbers rising. A(H5N1) viruses are distinct from seasonal flu strains but respond to current antivirals, and 2 vaccine candidates show promise for cross-protection against current cattle outbreaks.

CDC supports protective measures for farm workers facing heightened exposure risks and assists states in monitoring individuals exposed to infected animals. Over 550 people have been monitored, with at least 45 tested for flu-like symptoms as part of targeted efforts. Ongoing surveillance includes enhanced summer monitoring to detect unusual flu-like illness or influenza activity trends, especially in areas affected by A(H5N1) outbreaks among dairy cows or other animals. As of the latest data, CDC's flu surveillance systems have not detected unusual flu activity in the general population.3

Recent CDC highlights include completing flu serology studies to assess population immunity to clade 2.3.3.4b A(H5N1) viruses causing outbreaks among US animals. Nationwide blood samples from recent flu seasons show minimal to no population immunity against these viruses, unaffected by seasonal flu vaccinations. This highlights the vulnerability of most people to potential A(H5N1) infection if the virus were to evolve to spread easily among humans.3

Michigan's financial aid and research support for dairy farms affected by avian influenza demonstrate a proactive response. Collaborating with federal agencies and employing a One Health strategy, the state aims to mitigate the impact on animal and public health, highlighting effective crisis management and future preparedness.

References

  1. MDARD. MDARD Offers Limited Financial Assistance to HPAI-impacted Dairy Farms to Participate in Critical, Real-Time Research Studies. Published June 18, 2024. Accessed June 21, 2024. https://www.michigan.gov/mdard/about/media/pressreleases/2024/06/18/mdard-offers-limited-financial-assistance-to-hpai-impacted-dairy-farms
  2. CDC. About One Health. Updated February 29, 2024. Accessed June 21, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/one-health/about/index.html#:~:text=One%20Health%20is%20a%20collaborative,plants%2C%20and%20their%20shared%20environment.
  3. CDC. CDC A(H5N1) Bird Flu Response Update June 14, 2024. Published June 14, 2024. Accessed June 21, 2024.https://www.cdc.gov/bird-flu/spotlights/h5n1-response-06142024.html
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