New Strain of H5N1 in US Cows Poses Risk to Mammal 

New Strain of H5N1 in US Cows Poses Risk to Mammal. Credit | CDC / AP
New Strain of H5N1 in US Cows Poses Risk to Mammal. Credit | CDC / AP

United States: According to the researchers, the H5N1 influenza attacking US dairy cattle has the potential to cause a severe form of disease in mice and ferrets. 

However, they also revealed that these bovine-derived viruses have limited potential to cause a widespread disease in mammals. 

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Following a number of experiments on highly potent H5N1 avian influenza viruses, which are transmitting across the US cattle, it is revealed that these viruses, which are extracted from lactating dairy cattle, caused the diseases to severe degrees in mice and ferrets, which was introduced in them through intranasal inoculation, reported. 

The findings were published in the journal Nature, which suggested that bovine (cow) HPAI H5N1 viruses have different natures in terms of biological structure and chemical properties compared to earlier HPAI H5N1 viruses. 

Moreover, the novel variety of viruses might have properties such as facilitating and transmitting among mammals. 

New Strain of H5N1 in US Cows Poses Risk to Mammal. Credit | Getty Images
New Strain of H5N1 in US Cows Poses Risk to Mammal. Credit | Getty Images

But, presently, they are not capable enough to do so via respiratory contractions between animals or humans. 

The outbreak of H5N1 in the US 

The outbreak in cattle came to light when several US dairy cattle farms started to have infection cases, even leading to infection among cats on affected farms, as reported. 

Moreover, along with spilling over to poultry, there were four cases of human infections among farm workers was also involved. 

As scientists explain, with time, genetic changes are observed in avian viruses, which are spreading throughout the continent and causing outbreaks in wild birds and mammals. 

In certain cases, the death rate reaches a great amount, along with widespread transmission within species. 

Understanding of bovine H5N1 viruses 

To understand better the nature of the bovine H5N1 viruses, the researchers coming from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Japan’s Shizuoka and Tokyo Universities, and Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory performed an experiment, determining the potential of bovine HPAI H5N1 to replicate and cause disease in mice and ferrets, as reported. 

As per experts, Ferrets are considered as a good example to understand the tendencies of the influenza transmission patterns in people. It is so because they both showcase the same clinical symptoms and immune responses and develop respiratory tract infections like humans. 

The scientists conducted intranasal administration in mice, and the doses of ovine HPAI H5N1 influenza rose to the strength of 5 mice per dosage group. 

They were put under a scanner to examine their bodily weight changes and survival period for fifteen days. 

The experiment showed that all the mice that received the higher doses died of infectious diseases. 

However, some mice that received lower doses survived, whereas those receiving the lowest amount of dose did not experience any change in body weight and even survived.