Influenza infection in cattle gets new name: Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV)

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The American Association of Bovine Practitioners will now refer to highly pathogenic avian influenza in cattle as bovine influenza A virus, or BIAV, and is encouraging everyone to do the same.

In an open letter dated April 8, 2024, the AABP says that though caused by the same virus, the disease presents very differently in cattle versus poultry and is far less lethal. The name change reflects the difference in the presentation of the disease between species. The organization is encouraging government officials and industry to adopt the name change.

“The virus isolated from affected animals in herds matching the clinical syndrome has been identfied as avian influenza virus Type A H5N1. This virus causes Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in birds, however the disease syndrome in cattle does not cause high morbidity and mortality as it does in birds. The AABP does not believe that this disease should be referenced as “HPAI in cattle” or “bird flu in cattle” due to these differences,” the letter reads.

As of Monday morning, April 8, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has not reported any positive tests for BIAV in Canadian livestock other than poultry.

Farmers who suspect cattle may be infected as asked to contact their veterinarians immediately. Here’s what to look for.

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