Bird flu hits Texas dairy cows, hens, human as ducks migrate

Bird flu hits Texas dairy cows, hens, human as ducks migrate

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, April 3 (Reuters) – Migratory waterfowl are to blame for widening avian-flu outbreaks in Texas cows and poultry, and wild birds carrying the virus should be heading north soon, state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said on Tuesday.
 
The U.S. government since last week has reported cases of the disease in seven dairy herds in Texas and one person who had contact with cows, making it the state most affected by the country’s first-ever outbreaks in cattle. Texas is the biggest U.S. cattle producer.
 
The cases in dairy cattle and the second human case in two years in the United States renewed concerns about the virus, which has been infecting poultry flocks and a growing number of other species globally since 2022.
 
A positive test at a Texas egg farm led egg producer Cal-Maine to cull 1.6 million laying hens, the company said on Tuesday. Texas had never before suffered such a major outbreak at a commercial poultry facility, Miller said.
 
“This is spread by waterfowl,” he said in an interview. “It’s migratory season.”