Raw milk contaminated with bird flu makes mice sick (study): News

Raw milk contaminated with bird flu makes mice sick (study): News
Raw milk contaminated with bird flu makes mice sick (study): News

High levels of avian flu were found in mice fed raw cow’s milk contaminated with the virus, reports a study published Friday, suggesting a risk to humans from consuming this drink.

In recent years, a highly pathogenic variant of avian influenza — HPAI H5N1 — has been found in more than 50 animal species, including since March in farmed cattle in the United States.

Around fifty herds in the country have been affected and two infections in humans have been reported. The two diagnosed individuals, farm workers, experienced reduced symptoms, such as conjunctivitis.

In the study published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Texas A&M University in the United States fed five mice with droplets of raw milk from cows. infected.

The rodents developed signs of the disease, including lethargy, and were euthanized four days later to study their organs.

Researchers found high levels of the virus in their nasal cavities, tracheas, and lungs, as well as low to moderate levels in other organs.

The study also looked at storing raw milk at refrigerator temperatures: virus levels declined only slightly after five weeks, indicating that simple refrigeration was not enough to make raw milk safe. .

“An important fact to take into account is the fact that the consumption of raw, unpasteurized milk is increasingly widespread,” said Rowland Kao, professor of veterinary epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, who did not participate in the study.

“While this study shows that mice can become systematically infected by ingesting contaminated milk, it does not prove that the same is true for humans, even if it increases the possibility,” added the researcher.

In addition to testing on mice, researchers confirmed that heating raw milk to high temperatures — as pasteurization does — destroys virtually all traces of the virus after a few seconds, and destroys all of the pathogen after several minutes.

In a recent United States-wide survey, all samples of pasteurized milk came back negative for the presence of the virus in a viable state. But the virus in an inactive state, therefore unable to spread, was discovered in some 20% of the samples.

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