The U.S. poultry industry is battling a surge of the contagious bird flu which has already killed millions of chickens and turkeys this year. With Easter just weeks away, the supply of eggs has vastly dwindled, causing increased prices for consumers.
According to a report released Monday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 22.8 million birds have been affected by the bird flu. Highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza are sweeping through 24 states, including Wyoming, Maine and in particular, Iowa. Counties in Iowa which produce over 1 billion eggs annually have declared disaster in light of the outbreak. About 5.3 million birds in Iowa’s Buena Vista County have caught avian flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bird flu isn’t known to cause major health concerns in humans. The CDC announced in March that the current strains lack the changes seen in previous strains that put humans at greater risk for infection and severe illness.
Officials at the state level are urging owners of commercial and backyard flocks to keep their birds indoors. The bird flu’s deadly impacts are hurting the poultry industry and the seasonal demand for the Easter and Passover holidays.
Editorial credit: jurgenfr / Shutterstock.com