Bird flu is back among commercial poultry flocks in U.S.


The break in the blue flu outbreak that began last April may be over.

The first spread of the virus since then has occurred in a 47,300 flock of turkeys in South Dakota.

The turkey farm in Jeruald County, SD, was forced to kill its flock to control the disease outbreak.

Commercial flocks of U.S. chickens, turkeys, and other poultry totaling 58.8 million birds had to be killed between 2022 and the spring of 2023.

Bird flu appeared to come to either an end or a break last April after commercial farms in both South and North Dakota experienced infections.

Since last spring, commercial poultry has worked to rebuild flocks. Before the latest outbreak, commercial blocks for the summer months escaped from infections.

The break may be over with the commercial U.S. poultry experiencing the first bird flu infections since last April.

That means more infected flocks will have to be culled to control the spread of the avian virus.

Avian flu has led to higher egg and poultry prices during inflationary times.  The break that has occurred since last April has helped those higher prices.

While only one human illness in the U.S. is known to have occurred,  two deaths in Cambodia, a 50-year-old man and a two-year-old girl, were likely caused recently by avian flu.   

Officially called “Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI),”  or referred to as “bird flu,” it went on a rampage for the year, resulting in the loss of 58 million birds. 

With the break over, fears are building around the possibility that HPAI will become a regular seasonal event and that the virus may be present in both wild birds and domestic flocks. It has also been detected in mammals.

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