Avian Flu Poultry Deaths Near U.S. Record

Avian influenza losses are nearing a record in the United States this year, as the virus has infected more wild birds that transmit the disease. A new report from Reuters shows more than 47 million birds have died from infections and culling. The outbreak sparked export bans and lowered egg and turkey production, leading to tight supplies and higher prices as the Thanksgiving Day shopping period nears. The 47 million deaths are near the deadliest U.S. outbreak in 2015, where 50.5 million birds died or were culled. Rosemary Sifford, chief veterinary officer for the Department of Agriculture, says, “Unfortunately, what we’ve done probably hasn’t been enough to protect us from this high load of virus in the wild bird population.” Officials are finding the virus in a wide range of wild birds, and it seems to live longer in the birds. Since February, USDA reports the outbreak has infected flocks in 42 states.

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