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The Michigan Health Department is warning residents not to drink raw milk. This is why

(CBS-DETROIT) – Michigan health experts warn residents of the risks of consuming raw milk as highly pathogenic bird flu continues impact the state’s dairy herds.

The virus can spread to humans through the consumption of unpasteurized dairy products.

“Anyone can get sick from drinking raw milk, but children under age 5, adults over age 65 and people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of getting sick,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, medical director. “With HPAI infecting both cows and birds, it is important to ensure you are consuming safe food, and also to ensure that the dairy products you eat or drink are pasteurized.”

Pasteurized milk undergoes a heating process that kills germs that cause illness, including Campylobacter, E. coli and Salmonella.

People who consume products made with raw milk are at risk of contracting diseases; However, the milk products sold in stores and given at school lunches are all made from pasteurized milk.

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Additionally, health experts say that milk a person consumes from the same farm they previously drank from may not be safe. Although it didn’t make them sick before, it may have since become infected.

Pasteurization inactivates bacteria and viruses, such as the bird flu virus.

Bird flu detected in Michigan dairy herds

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reminding residents of the risks associated with drinking raw milk due to highly pathogenic bird flu, also known as bird flu. detected in several dairy herds in Michigan.

In March 2024, bird flu was detected in a dairy herd in Montcalm County. The virus has since been found in herds in Ionia, Isabella and Ottawa provinces.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has released the following ways to: prevent bird flu from spreading:

  • Prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or by ensuring their outdoor area is completely enclosed.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling birds and when moving between different cages.
  • Disinfect boots and other equipment when moving between cages.
  • Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
  • Clean and disinfect equipment and other supplies in between. If it cannot be disinfected, throw it away.
  • Use well or municipal water as drinking water for birds.
  • Store poultry feed safely to ensure there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.
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