Cats Strangely Die After Drinking Milk

Photo by Roberto Huczek on Unsplash

( – A recent preliminary report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed concerning findings regarding the transmission of bird flu, specifically the avian influenza A (H5N1) virus, in a Texas dairy farm setting. The investigation highlighted an incident where over half of the domestic cats on the farm succumbed to the disease after consuming unpasteurized milk from cows that were later identified as infected with the virus.

The sequence of events began in mid-March when approximately 24 cats were fed raw milk on the farm, before any indications of illness were observed in the cows. Shortly after the cows began exhibiting symptoms, the cats too fell ill, and within a couple of days, more than half of them had died. Autopsies on some of the deceased cats revealed severe neurological impairments, including lack of coordination, blindness, and significant nasal and ocular discharge.

These findings are particularly alarming as they suggest potential cross-species and mammal-to-mammal transmission of this highly pathogenic virus, which contrasts with earlier studies that cows might not be highly susceptible to such infections. Notably, the affected cattle exhibited systemic illness, a drop in milk production, and significant virus shedding through their milk, indicating a robust viral presence.

The implications of this incident extend beyond the farm, as similar infections have been reported in cattle across several states including Kansas, Michigan, Idaho, and Ohio. This suggests a broader issue of cow-to-cow transmission within the industry. Furthermore, the first human case linked to this outbreak was identified in March when a Texas dairy farm worker developed symptoms of conjunctivitis and tested positive for HPAI. Fortunately, this individual is recovering well without severe complications, and no further human cases or human-to-human transmission has been detected to date.

Despite the low risk to the general public, the CDC emphasizes that individuals who frequently interact with birds, cattle, or other potentially infected animals should exercise caution. The ongoing outbreak, which has impacted an unprecedented 82 million birds across 48 states, marks the most severe in U.S. history, underlining the deadly potential of the virus which historically has had a mortality rate exceeding 50% among human cases between 2003 and 2016. The situation remains a significant concern for public health and the agricultural sector alike.

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