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Montevideo, February 7th 2023 - 08:39 UTC

 

 

US poultry farms forced to eliminate 50,5 million chickens because of avian flu

Tuesday, November 29th 2022 - 10:00 UTC
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The disease is spread by wild birds which transmit the virus through feathers, feces and direct contact The disease is spread by wild birds which transmit the virus through feathers, feces and direct contact

More than 50,5 million birds in US poultry farms have been slaughtered because of outbreaks of avian flu among flocks in over forty states, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The disease is spread by wild birds which transmit the virus through feathers, feces and direct contact. The latest report comes from the state of Nebraska where another 1,8 million chickens must be sacrificed, following the discovery of an egg laying farm some 190 kilometers north of Omaha.

”Wild birds continue to spread HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) throughout the country as they migrate, so preventing contact between domestic flocks and wild birds is critical to protecting US poultry,” Rosemary Sifford, the USDA's chief veterinary officer said.

In an early November announcement about the ongoing outbreak, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that while the risk to the general public remains low, it is advising Americans to take “preventative measures” - such as avoiding direct contact with wild birds and avoiding unprotected contact with poultry - to prevent spreading the disease to humans, pets, birds and other animals.

Symptoms of bird flu in humans have previously ranged from eye redness and mild flu-like symptoms, to pneumonia and difficulty breathing. World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that only 868 cases of transmission from birds to humans were recorded between 2003 and 3 November 2022, resulting in 456 deaths.

Poultry deaths stemming from avian flu led to rising prices for eggs and turkey ahead of last week's Thanksgiving holiday in the US. The American Farm Bureau, a US-based insurance company and lobbying group, said the price of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey had risen 21% over the last year and now stands at nearly US$29 for a 7,5 kilograms bird.

Record outbreaks of avian flu have also swept across the UK and Europe, as well as parts of Africa and Asia.

The World Organization for Animal Health, OIE, believes the wave of outbreaks is the result of international trade, farming practices and migratory wild birds. Over 4.6 million birds died or were culled between mid-October and mid-November alone, according to the organization.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says more than 50.5 million birds in 46 states — mostly chickens and turkeys on commercial farms — have been slaughtered as part of this year’s outbreak. Nebraska is second only to Iowa’s 15.5 million birds killed with 6.8 million birds now affected at 13 farms.

Tags: Avian flu.

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