MANHATTAN, Kan. — The director of a Kansas State University veterinary laboratory that responds to animal health issues across the state said that while coronavirus is a disease familiar to livestock producers, it is not the same strain of the virus grabbing headlines across the globe.
The novel strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, is transmitted through humans. There is no evidence that livestock can transmit the disease to humans, and the food products from livestock cannot carry COVID-19 to humans.
“Producers are well aware that there is a (different strain of) coronavirus that is associated with neo-natal diarrhea, and there’s another one that we think is now associated with cattle respiratory disease,” Gregg
Hanzlicek, director of the production animal field investigations unit in Kansas State’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said in a news release.
“But I want to make it perfectly clear that our cattle coronavirus has no relationship to the coronavirus that is currently circulating in humans.”
Hanzlicek said producers are safe to go about the business of taking care of animals.
“They need to minimize the amount of exposure they have to humans. At this point, they should keep on doing what they do every day with their livestock,” he said.
Livestock producers who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should see their medical professional. If their livestock begin showing signs of illness, as well, Hanzlicek said they should contact their local veterinarian.
“The local vet will call the state or federal veterinarian and then a decision will be made whether to test those animals for COVID-19,” Hanzlicek said. “We don’t want to just start blanket sampling all animals. Again, with this virus, we do not believe that livestock are associated with spreading the disease.”