Bird Flu Epidemic Worsening

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In January, a highly virulent strand of avian influenza was discovered in the United States. Avian influenza H5N1 has been reported in the Midwest, South, and East Coast. Nearly 27 million hens and turkeys have been slaughtered in 30 states since the epidemic began in January. According to the US Department of Agriculture, at least 36 bald Eagles have died as a result of the illness.

In the last two weeks, a dozen birds have been taken to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center. These birds had been having convulsions and couldn’t stand up. They had to be euthanized in the end. The avian influenza H5N1 has killed red tailed hawks, horned owls, crows, snow geese, and black vultures.

In the United States, no persons have tested positive thus far. However, there will be a significant economic cost. Prices for eggs, chicken meat, and turkeys are expected to climb as a result of the slaughter of so many laying hens, meat chickens, and turkeys. In 2015, the pandemic cost the poultry sector more than $1.5 billion. Egg prices doubled during the pandemic.

The avian influenza type A virus causes bird flu. Waterfowl and wild birds naturally carry this disease. It can infect domestic poultry and other animals, but people are only rarely affected. There are a dozen avian flu strains classified as low or high pathogenic. This distinction is based on the disease’s capacity to propagate and kill birds.

The Eurasian H5 and one avian influenza strains are now circulating in the United States. It has a high pathogenic potential. It infects the respiratory and digestive systems. It has the ability to swiftly consume an entire flock. Lack of energy, appetite loss, decreased egg production, diarrhea, and edema are all symptoms.

This avian influenza outbreak is not confined to the United States. At three of its locations, the 8Q duck farming enterprise has identified avian flu. As a result, 150,000 birds were slaughtered and over 300 staff were laid off. Brome Lake Ducks’ Angela Anderson estimates that completely restoring these activities will take at least six months and many million dollars.

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