Science and TechAnimals and Insects


US reports its first case of bird flu in a domestic baby goat

The USDA reports that since the start of the outbreak in 2022, over 82 million birds and over 200 mammals in the U.S. have been impacted.
Generic image of young goats.
Posted at 8:29 PM, Mar 21, 2024

A baby goat in Minnesota tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, or bird flu, marking the first time the virus has been found in a domestic ruminant in the U.S.

Earlier this month, a farm owner in Stevens County reported that newborn goats had mysteriously died following the removal of a poultry flock in February due to HPAI, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. 

The board noted that since the goats and poultry shared the same area and water supply on the farm, they took one of the dead goats for testing, which then came back positive for influenza A, and later confirmed as H5N1.

“This finding is significant because, while the spring migration is definitely a higher-risk transmission period for poultry, it highlights the possibility of the virus infecting other animals on farms with multiple species,” Minnesota state veterinarian Dr. Brian Hoefs said in a press release. “Thankfully, research to date has shown mammals appear to be dead-end hosts, which means they’re unlikely to spread HPAI further."

The H5N1 outbreak was first reported in Feb. 2022, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture found the strain on a Midwest poultry farm. 

Since then, the USDA reports that over 82 million birds in the U.S. have been impacted across 48 states. 

While it does mostly affect birds, the virus has also spread to over 200 mammals across the U.S., such as foxes, skunks, mountain lions, bears, squirrels and sea lions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions the public to be on alert if their domestic animals come into contact with an infected bird, potentially exposing them to the virus.