Avian Flu Outbreak Kills 50.54 Million Birds In US

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This year, the avian flu outbreak has killed around 50 million birds in the United States, setting a record for the deadliest flare-up in the country’s history. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported on Thanksgiving Thursday that the flu outbreak has wiped out 50.54 million birds, making it the worst animal-health disaster in the country to date, as per KSL.com.

The outbreak affected chickens, turkeys, ducks and other birds, as shown in the USDA’s records. This beat the previous record of 50.5 million birds dying in the 2015 flare-up. 

According to authorities, the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is responsible for this year’s record-breaking animal disaster that impacted poultry farms, backyard flocks and facilities like petting zoos. 

Meanwhile, the USDA noted in a separate report that at least 3,700 wild birds were killed by the outbreak. 

“Wild birds can be infected with HPAI and show no signs of illness. They can carry the disease to new areas when migrating, potentially exposing domestic poultry to the virus,” the department stated on its website. 

Health and wildlife officials believe the migration of infected wild birds significantly contributed to the massive spread of the virus, so they are urging domestic bird owners to prevent their animals from making contact with their wild counterparts.

“Wild birds continue to spread HPAI throughout the country as they migrate, so preventing contact between domestic flocks and wild birds is critical to protecting U.S. poultry,” USDA’s chief veterinary officer Rosemary Sifford said.

In many cases, the birds die from the flu. But in other cases, the farmers had to kill their entire flocks to prevent the spread of the HPAI after some tested positive for the virus. 

However, farmers had been called out by various animal welfare advocates for using a culling method that involved pumping in heat to a barn after sealing off its airways to kill all animals, according to HuffPost

As a result of the mass deaths of birds, prices for eggs and turkey meat soared to record highs, causing consumers to suffer amid the Thanksgiving celebrations. 

The virus has been ravaging North America and Europe since 2021. Some British supermarkets had to ration customers’ egg purchases after supplies got disrupted by the pandemic, Reuters reported. 

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