High Path Avian Flu 2024 Timeline: How did we get here?

poultry hpai.png

Friday, March 22nd
Scientists confirm the first case affecting livestock was discovered in Minnesota, and detected in a baby goat. It was housed on a farm where High Path Avian Flu recently had been found in some poultry.

Monday, March 25th
USDA confirms two dairy cattle herds in Texas and Kansas had been hit by the virus. The illness was a mystery at first, leaving producers and health officials baffled by the symptoms. Producers had noticed a decrease in rumen activity and a change in milk consistency. Some had to be culled but others returned to normal.

Monday, April 1st
A Texas resident becomes infected with High Path Avian Flu after having direct contact with cattle, according to AgriPulse. He was treated with an antiviral drug and in recovery.

Monday, April 1st
USDA verifies the presence of the virus in a Michigan dairy herd. Those cattle had recently traveled from Texas, which was a state confirmed with the virus last week along with Kansas.

Tuesday, April 2nd
Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller announces that Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. in Farwell, Texas had a positive test for the High Path Avian Flu (also known as H5N1) virus.

Wednesday, April 3rd
Ohio becomes the sixth state to report a case of High Path Avian Flu in their dairy herd.

The operation in Wood County received dairy cows in March from a Texas dairy that later reported a confirmed case of the virus, according to DTN.

Thursday, April 4th
U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson from Iowa says HPAI response requires an “all government approach.”

Friday, April 5th
Nebraska and Tennessee have implemented restrictions on dairy cattle entering the states, aiming to safeguard their livestock populations.

Tennessee restricts cattle coming into the state from infected areas, and in Nebraska, a state veterinarian explained the new requirements involve a permitting process for all breeding female dairy cattle entering the state.

Friday, April 5th
The CDC reassures the virus found in dairy cattle and a farm worker does not pose a significant threat to humans.

The agency say while minor genetic changes were noted, the virus primarily maintains avian characteristics and lacks adaptations for mammalian infection.

Monday, April 8th

APHIS confirms another major case of High-Path Avian Flu in a Michigan poultry flock.

This case involved nearly 2 million birds, and it happened at a facility between Grand Rapids and Lansing. It comes just days after the large case was reported at a Cal-Maine facility in Texas where more than 1.8 million had to be culled.

Tuesday, April 9th
Dr. Paul Friedrichs joins Dr. Jeffrey Gold on Rural Health Matters to discuss the situation with dairy cows and the virus.

He stressed the milk supply is safe thanks to pasteurization, a measure that has required extensive effort by the ag community over many years to ensure the availability of a safe product.

Thursday, April 11th
North Carolina becomes the seventh state to confirm a case of High-Path Avian Flu in a dairy herd.

The state’s Agriculture Commissioner mentioned that they have spent several years developing methods to handle HPAI in poultry. However, this situation is new, and they are currently working to develop protocols to address it.

Friday, April 12th
South Dakota becomes the eighth state to confirm the virus in a dairy herd.

Health officials say there is no risk to the commercial milk supply, emphasizing that dairy producers can only sell milk from healthy animals, and pasteurization eliminates harmful bacteria.

Monday, April 15th
Animal health officials confirm three more dairy herds in Michigan have contracted High Path Avian Flu. The state was the second state to confirm that the virus had jumped from birds to dairy cattle.

Monday, April 15th
The American Association of Bovine Practitioners is asking health officials to refer to it as something else. They are asking state and federal health officials to call it “Bovine Influenza A-Virus,” noting the virus affecting cattle does not cause high mortality like it does in birds.

Tuesday, April 16th
APHIS asks cattle producers to have their animals tested before moving between states.

The effort is voluntary, though, because the USDA says it would not be feasible to test every U.S. dairy herd. APHIS hopes voluntary testing will shed more light on the virus’ impact and help stop the spread from state to state.

Wednesday, April 17th
The National Milk Producers Federation sit down with two animal health experts to get their take on what these infections mean for the industry. They say training for biosecurity can be challenging because it is not a threat that can be seen, and you sometimes have to gain a whole new way of thinking.

“The first thing we’re starting with is trying to create that culture of our employees and actually of our neighbors, too, because it’s quite the training process to train your neighbors and all the folks, salesmen, supply people. You’ve got to train them to what the behaviors that you expect now. We can get to some interesting conversations with people, but usually they come around and go, “Okay, I understand. I understand now why you’re taking all these precautions,” said Karen Jordan.

Thursday, April 18th
Doug McKalip, the nation’s Chief Ag Negotiator, says the shift of HPAI from birds to cattle is not causing any global trade disruptions.

He says trade has been left untouched because U.S. milk is pasteurized, leaving no room for the virus to live. He adds it is has been a key part of conversations with trade partners in order to prevent any kind of action against U.S. dairy.

Monday, April 22nd
Health experts at USDA warn that cow-to-cow spread is a factor in how the virus is moving.

Veterinarians at the University of Illinois say they have long believed the virus was moving from cow to cow. USDA says while it is a factor in how the cases are spreading, they are still not able to pinpoint its exact movement.

Wednesday, April 24th
The Food and Drug Administration tests samples and it is showed fragments of the virus in pasteurized milk, indicating the virus has spread across more dairy herds than originally discovered, according to DTN.

They released a statement explaining their findings “do not represent actual virus that may be a risk to consumers.”

Wednesday, April 24th
USDA announces new testing guidelines for HPAI in dairy cattle.

Starting Monday, April 29, the USDA will require free avian flu (HPAI H5N1) testing on all dairy cattle before interstate travel. Positive cases must be directly reported to the USDA for tracing.

Friday, April 26th
Colombia puts restrictions on U.S. beef products.

The ban includes beef products delivered from cattle that were slaughtered in the 8 states where cases have been confirmed. The restrictions include raw bovine and meat products. While Colombia only imports a small amount of beef from the U.S., industry groups like the U.S. Meat Export Federation feel Colombia’s decision does not have any scientific basis, and says the restrictions are a big deal for exporters doing business in the country. To date, no beef cattle have tested positive for the virus.

Monday, April 29th
Colorado becomes ninth state to report HPAI in a dairy herd.

The state’s Department of Agriculture has not said how many dairy cows were infected but said the animals were showing signs consistent with other cases.

Monday, April 29th
Federal order on HPAI and dairy cattle goes into effect.

It requires all lactating dairy cattle to have a negative test for High Path Avian Flu, and any positive hits must be reported to APHIS.

Monday, April 29th
Bottlenose dolphin dies from HPAI strain in Florida.

It is the most recent mammal to die from the virus, according to News Channel 8. University of Florida researchers made the discovery following a necropsy on a dolphin that was found suffering in a canal in 2022. A necropsy showed it had contracted a strain of the virus, and it was found with an inflammed brain and leptomeninges disease.

Thursday, May 2nd
FDA reports that no viable virus has been detected in 300 samples of dairy products.

According to Rosemary Sifford, the USDA’s Chief Veterinarian, there was likely a spillover event where cows in multiple herds were infected by wild birds. Subsequently, these infected cattle were transferred to other states, potentially transmitting the virus through equipment or other tools.

Friday, May 3rd
USDA finds no traces of HPAI when testing ground beef.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service collected 30 samples form retail locations across the nine states where the virus was detected in dairy cattle. APHIS conducted the testing and all were negative for the virus.

Monday, May 6th
Study shows that HPAI in cattle was likely around for months before it was discovered in March.

A research project, funded by the USDA and CDC, shows a wild bird likely introduced the virus to cattle. From there, they believe the virus circulated locally for around four months before the March discovery.

Monday, May 6th
New report shows the Texas man who contracted HPAI wasn’t wearing PPE.

The CDC says the worker had a serious case of pink eye but did not show signs of respiratory issues or fever.

Agriculture Shows
From soil to harvest. Top Crop is an all-new series about four of the best farmers in the world—Dan Luepkes, of Oregan, Illinois; Cory Atley, of Cedarville, Ohio; Shelby Fite, of Jackson Center, Ohio; Russell Hedrick, of Hickory, North Carolina—reveals what it takes for them to make a profitable crop. It all starts with good soil, patience, and a strong planter setup.
Champions of Rural America is a half-hour dive into the legislative priorities for Rural America. Join us as we interview members of the Congressional Western Caucus to learn about efforts in Washington to preserve agriculture and tackles the most important topics in the ag industry on Champions of Rural America!
Farm Traveler is for people who want to connect with their food and those who grow it. Thanks to direct-to-consumer businesses, agritourism, and social media, it’s now easier than ever to learn how our food is made and support local farmers. Here on the Farm Traveler, we want to connect you with businesses offering direct-to-consumer products you can try at home, agritourism sites you can visit with your family, and exciting new technologies that are changing how your food is being grown.
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.