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Bird flu risk prompts warning against raw milk and unpasteurized dairy products

Pasteurization works to kill bird flu in milk, according to tests by the Food and Drug Administration — but what about unpasteurized dairy products like raw milk? Experts advise staying away, especially given the recent outbreak of bird flu that is affecting increasing numbers of people. Poultry And dairy cows.

“Don’t eat unpasteurized dairy products,” Dr. Nidhi Kumar told CBS New York. “I know there are people who are real advocates for it, but now is not the time to do it.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers raw milk “one of the riskiest foods.”

“Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria,” explains the health agency’s website. “Raw milk can be contaminated with harmful germs that can make you very sick.” The CDC says raw milk can cause a number of foodborne illnesses and people can suffer from diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting for days.

“It’s not just about bird flu, it’s also about salmonella, E. coli (and other pathogens),” says Donal Bisanzio, senior epidemiologist at the nonprofit research institute lucrative RTI International. “A lot of people think that pasteurization can reduce, for example, the quality of milk, but no one has really demonstrated anything like that. … You can get all the nutrients from (pasteurized) milk.”

Bisanzio says only about 1 percent of Americans drink raw milk.

It’s not yet known whether the bird flu virus can spread to humans through raw milk, Bisanzio says – but if it does, he expects symptoms to be similar to other modes contraction.

“(If) the amount of virus in raw milk is enough to infect a human, you would expect the same type of symptoms – flu-like symptoms like fever, nausea – that you might find in affected people . by infection by other different routes.

The FDA’s findings regarding pasteurized milk come after the agency revealed that approximately 1 in 5 samples of milk sold at retail surveys across the country had tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI H5N1. The additional testing did not detect any live infectious viruses, reaffirming the FDA’s assessment that “the commercial milk supply is safe,” the agency said in a statement.

-Alexander Tin contributed to this report.

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