Maryland Department of Agriculture Issues Order Restricting Movement of Dairy Cattle Into the State 

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 10, 2024) ~ The Maryland Department of Agriculture has issued an order restricting the movement of dairy cattle into the state from areas with confirmed outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). This comes after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that several states, including Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Idaho, Ohio, North Carolina and New Mexico, have reported cases of HPAI in their dairy cattle herds.

According to the USDA National Veterinary Laboratory Services, the strain responsible for these outbreaks is H5N1. This particular strain has been circulating in wild bird populations for several years and is believed to have been introduced to these herds by wild birds.

While there have been no reported cases of HPAI in cattle in Maryland, the state's producers are being reminded to practice strong biosecurity measures. This includes minimizing animal movements and isolating sick cattle. Any new animals brought into a herd should be quarantined for at least two weeks before being introduced to other animals.

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Maryland Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks stated that the state is home to a thriving dairy and cattle genetics industry and that the department is actively monitoring and responding to this situation. He also emphasized that this order serves as an additional layer of protection for Maryland farmers and their industry partners.

In addition to the confirmed cases in dairy herds, a human case of HPAI was reported in Texas on April 1st and confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, the CDC has stated that this isolated case does not change their overall risk assessment for H5N1 bird flu in the United States as they consider the risk to be low for the general public.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also reassured consumers that there is no concern about the safety of milk products as they are pasteurized before entering the market. Additionally, dairies are required to only use milk from healthy animals for human consumption. If milk from cows showing symptoms of illness or exposed to avian influenza is intended for animal consumption, the FDA strongly recommends that it be pasteurized or heat-treated to eliminate any harmful bacteria or viruses.

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Avian influenza, commonly known as "bird flu," is a respiratory illness caused by an Influenza A virus in birds. The CDC has confirmed that the risk of transmission of avian influenza between birds or cattle and the general public remains low.

To prevent the spread of avian influenza, the Maryland Department of Agriculture advises poultry and livestock owners to practice daily biosecurity measures. This includes staying vigilant for signs of illness and reporting any suspected cases to the department. Commercial chicken growers and backyard flock owners can also seek guidance by emailing their questions about the outbreak to

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about these outbreaks, individuals can visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture's website. It is important for farmers and industry partners in Maryland to continue practicing strong biosecurity measures in order to protect their animals and livelihoods from this highly contagious disease.

Filed Under: Government, State

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