CFIA watching for HPAI in cattle, while sticking with original name for disease

Dairy calves (Photo credit: Farm and Food Care)

The Canada Food Inspection Agency will continue to refer to highly pathogenic avian influenza in cattle as HPAI in cattle, and not refer to it as bovine influenza A virus (BIAV), as suggested by the American Association of Bovine Practitioners earlier this month.

Dr. Martin Appelt, senior director for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in the interview below, says at this time Canada will stick with “HPAI in cattle” when referencing the disease that’s been confirmed in dairy cattle in multiple states in the U.S.

The CFIA’s naming policy is consistent with the agency’s U.S. counterparts’, as the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has also said it will continue referring to it as HPAI or H5N1.

Appelt explains how the CFIA is learning from the U.S. experience to-date, and how it is working with veterinarians across Canada to stay vigilant for signs of the disease in dairy and beef cattle.

As of April 19, there has not been a confirmed case of HPAI in cattle in Canada. Appelt says it’s too soon to say if an eventual positive case will significantly restrict animal movement, as is the case with positive poultry cases.

This is a major concern for the cattle industry, as beef cattle especially move north and south across the U.S. border by the thousands. Appelt says that CFIA will address an infection in each species differently in conjunction with how the disease is spread and the threat to neighbouring farms or livestock.

Currently, provincial dairy organizations have advised producers to postpone any non-essential tours of dairy barns, as a precaution, in addition to other biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of cattle contracting HPAI.

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