Update: USDA issues  Federal Order to prevent the spread of HPAI/BIAV in cattle

From USDA/APHIS regarding HPAI/BIAV (highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, also called Bovine Influenza A Virus):

USDA has identified spread between cows within the same herd, spread from cows to poultry, spread between dairies associated with cattle movements, and cows without clinical signs that have tested positive.” To mitigate this risk, a federal order and related guidance has been released which requires pre-movement testing for lactating dairy cattle and recommends pre-movement testing for non-lactating cattle.


Mandatory Testing for Interstate Movement of Dairy Cattle

  • Prior to interstate movement, dairy cattle are required to receive a negative test for Influenza A virus at an approved National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) laboratory.
  • Owners of herds in which dairy cattle test positive for interstate movement will be required to provide epidemiological information, including animal movement tracing.
  • Dairy cattle moving interstate must adhere to conditions specified by APHIS.
  • As will be described in forthcoming guidance, these steps will be immediately required for lactating dairy cattle, while these requirements for other classes of dairy cattle will be based on scientific factors concerning the virus and its evolving risk profile.

Mandatory Reporting

  • Laboratories and state veterinarians must report positive Influenza A nucleic acid detection diagnostic results (e.g. PCR or genetic sequencing) in livestock to USDA APHIS.
  • Laboratories and state veterinarians must report positive Influenza A serology diagnostic results in livestock to USDA APHIS.


As of Monday April 29, 2024:

  • The Federal Order requires pre-movement testing using milk from lactating cows.
  • Pre-movement testing of non-lactating cattle is also highly recommended.
  • Collection and testing must be no more than 7 days prior to interstate movement
  • Pre-movement testing will be performed at no cost to the submitter/producer.
  • Sampling and shipping costs are not covered.

 Additional details:

  1. Lactating dairy cattle are defined as a cow that is producing milk, regardless of the volume of milk that she is producing. This does not include dairy calves, pregnant heifers, or dairy cows that are ‘dry’ or no longer producing milk.
  2. APHIS scientists are working to establish testing protocols, rapidly assessing currently available
    tests and test performance including sample types to better understand the characteristics; based on this analysis, we may recommend testing for other classes of cattle beyond lactating dairy cows in the future.
  3. While not mandated, APHIS recommends pre-movement testing of non-lactating cattle as well. This testing at NAHLN laboratories will be completed at no cost to the producer.
  4. Cattle Moved Directly to Slaughter
    • Nonclinical lactating dairy cattle moving interstate direct to slaughter are not required to have a pre-movement test but must move on a certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation of movement approved by the sending and receiving state animal health officials and provided to the sending and receiving state animal health officials.
    • Clinical lactating dairy cattle are ineligible for interstate movement or movement to slaughter.
  5. USDA and State Animal Health Officials recommend the farm of destination should isolate and observe all dairy cattle for 30 days upon arrival. The 30 days isolation of all animals that move on/off a premises will have prevent the spread of disease.
  6.  Please review testing requirements closely for details on volume and sampling.

The WVDL is prepared to meet this need for the state of Wisconsin:

HPAI Testing in cattle at the WVDL

  • WVDL Madison runs the standard PCR for milk for pre-movement of lactating cows, or nasopharyngeal swabs for non-lactating cows. WVDL Barron does not perform this test, but can help arrange shipment to Madison laboratories.
  • WVDL anticipates approval to offer HPAI serological testing in the coming weeks at both location, but at this time it is not covered as part of the Federal Order.
  • Some samples from health animals may be pooled within the lab, but it will not affect your results.
  • Negative tests will be reported in 1-3 business days and will satisfy the CVI requirement for interstate movement
  • Non-negative tests be shared with the submitting veterinarian. DATCP will be notified. Required confirmatory testing by NVSL will occur, generally within 1-3 days.
  • Positive confirmatory tests:
    • The State Animal Health Officials (SAHO) will not issue a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) for animals testing positive for H5N1. Animals may not move interstate until they have completed the 30-day waiting period and have retested negative.
    • Owners of herds in which dairy cattle test positive for interstate movement will be required to provide epidemiological information, including animal movement tracing.
    • Lactating dairy cattle from herds which have tested positive for Influenza A are not eligible for interstate movement for thirty (30) days from the most recent collection of any sample that tests positive from any individual animal in the herd. After the 30-day period, animals must be tested again for movement.

Milk collection instructions

  • Collect milk/udder secretions from individual cows. Ensure each quarter is sampled. Combine the milk from each quarter into one sample.
  • Submit between 3-10 ml of milk per animal.
  • Use a milk vial (same as milk culture) making sure to lock the lid down or a screw cap leak proof tube.
  • Refrigerate and send on ice.
  • It’s acceptable to freeze the milk sample(s) prior to shipping, but it is preferable to refrigerate at 4C.
  • For groups/lots of 30 or fewer animals moving interstate, all animals being moved must be tested. If more than 30 animals are moving interstate, then only 30 animals total must be tested.
  • All cattle must have individual official identification. The individual official identification must be provided on the submission form.
  • Only animal testing is covered: please do not send by-products, bulk or pooled milks, or other products for testing
  • Sample collection date is required.
  • Sample collection and testing must take place no more than seven (7) days prior to interstate movement

Submission instructions

  • Premises ID is required for this testing. Premises ID is printed on the Milk Producer License. It is can be found in the middle of the license titled “Livestock Premises Code”. Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) can be contacted for help with your Premises ID: (888) 808-1910
  • The test code is AIMATRXPCR, which is marked on the Bovine Influenza A submission form, found here
  • The individual official identification must be provided.
  • Sample collection date is required.
  • Samples should be sent or dropped off at the WVDL Madison Laboratory during normal business hours. Samples sent to WVDL Barron will experience delays to testing.
  • If a larger number of samples will be submitted, please let the lab know in advance.
  • Expedite requests may not be honored due to anticipated of high-volume, and expedite costs are not covered.
  • The test will be at NO COST to clients.

Recognizing clinical symptoms and enacting precautions

  • Dairy cattle may experience a sudden drop in feed intake, a marked drop in herd level milk production with some more severely affected cows having thickened milk or may have essentially no milk, or respiratory signs including clear nasal discharge. Suspect cattle may also include exposed cattle showing no clinical signs.
  • USDA recommends isolating any sick cattle.
  • DVM’s must contact DATCP who will decide if it is emerging event (can use Bovine Influenza A submission form) or it is an FADI (DATCP will fill out a 10-4 form). DACTP will advise on what samples to be submitted.

For accredited veterinarians in Wisconsin, please contact DATCP and WVDL to make a plan for diagnostic testing.

DATCP Phone: 608-224-5012

WI Department of Animal Health: 608-224-4872

Additional Resources: