Bird flu is spreading in a few states. Keeping your bird feeders clean can help

Concerns about bird flu have been on the rise since the U.S. Department of  Agriculture (USDA) announced the discovery of infections in dairy cows in two states earlier this week. 

The agency announced Monday that the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza, more commonly known as bird flu, was found in unpasteurized milk samples from cattle at two Kansas dairy farms and one in Texas.  

The USDA, along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are further investigating reports of sick cows in these states as well as New Mexico. 

Following reports of dead birds found on farm property, further testing took place over the weekend, indicating that known infections thus far originated from wild birds, not domestic ones.  

The agencies have reaffirmed that the likelihood of transmission to humans remains low, with the FDA saying, "At this stage, there is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health." 

The CDC, which tracks instances of bird flu in animals and people across the U.S., has the current health risk listed as "low" with no sign of person-to-person spread. 

The CDC has been tracking cases of bird flu in wild birds since January 2022. On March 13, it reported a total of 9,181 wild cases. Poultry cases have been tracked since February 8, 2022, and were last reported on March 20 at 82,048,716 

These numbers aren't specifically concerning thanks to the safeguards we have in place, the agencies said. However, some experts have advised that people should consider 

looking into their own backyards to ensure they are not unintentionally contributing to the spread in the form of unkempt and neglected bird feeders and baths.