The Avian Flu

The Avian Flu, also known as the bird flu, has wiped out over 50.5 million birds of all types. The Avian Flu mostly affects birds but can also be passed to humans. Chickens, turkeys, and other birds have been affected by the worst U.S. animal-health disaster in history. The number of 50.54 million birds topped the previous record of 50.5 million birds killed in an Avian-flu outbreak in 2015. Birds are infected and then spread the Avian Flu to the rest of the flock due to their close living proximity, leading to the death of entire flocks within only a couple of days. The decline in poultry sent prices for turkey meat and eggs through the roof, making Thanksgiving this year and the celebrations that come along with this holiday more expensive than in past years.

The outbreak in the United States, beginning in February, infected flocks of poultry and non-poultry birds, spreading across 46 states as shown by USDA data. Ducks, for example, spread the Flu by transmitting the disease through their feces, direct contact, or feathers. As the birds migrate, they continue to spread the virus as they are traveling. Preventing contact between domestic birds and wild birds which could be carrying the virus is critical to protect poultry. Besides the United States, Europe and Britain are also suffering from the Avian Flu outbreak.  Some British markets even had to ration their customer’s egg purchases after the outbreak crisis made supplies more expensive.  

Farmers are struggling to keep the disease and its infectors out of their barns. Security and cleaning measures were increased after the 2015 outbreak, which in about 30% of the cases, were traced to wild birds. This year, however, 85% of cases were traced back to wild birds. Government officials are researching the infections at turkey farms in hopes of developing new recommendations for the prevention of infections.    

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