Since the first detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Indiana on February 8, 2022, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have spread to chicken and turkey flocks in 46 states. The outbreak has also taken a heavy toll in Canada and Europe.

By early November, the outbreak had killed more than 50 million birds from Maine to Oregon and sent egg and poultry prices, including holiday turkeys, skyrocketing. It is comparable to the bird flu epidemic that occurred in It was previously considered the most significant animal disease event in US history.

The virus of concern in this outbreak is the Eurasian H5N1 HPAI virus, which causes high mortality and severe clinical disease in poultry. Scientists monitoring wild bird flocks also found a reassortant virus containing genes from both his Eurasian H5 virus and the low-pathogenic North American virus.

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Mutation occurs when multiple viral strains circulating in a bird population exchange genes to create new viral strains. This is similar to the emergence of new his COVID-19 strains such as Omicron and Delta during the ongoing pandemic.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the public health risk from this outbreak is low. Since 2014 he has had no human disease related to his H5N1 outbreak in 2015 in the United States.

The only known human case in the United States during the current outbreak was found in a Colorado man who had been in contact with infected birds. After testing positive once, the man had a negative follow-up test and reported only mild symptoms, leading health experts to believe the virus could have been present in his nose without actually causing infection.

To detect AI, the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees routine inspections of flocks by farmers and implements state inspection programs to ensure eggs and birds are safe and virus-free. When H5N1 is diagnosed in a farm or backyard flock, state and federal officials will quarantine the location and cull all birds in the infected flock. Next, clean and decontaminate the site. This process involves removing organic matter such as manure and chicken feed that could harbor virus particles.

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If there is no new evidence of virus for several weeks, the area must test negative to be considered uninfected. We refer to this process as the 4 D’s of outbreak control.




Flock owners are entitled to federal compensation for birds and eggs destroyed due to bird flu, as well as the cost of bird removal and farm cleaning and disinfection. This assistance is intended to help growers recover from the outbreak, bring their farms back to stock and resume operations as soon as possible.

However, these payments rarely cover all of the farmer’s costs. Poultry farms cannot always recover financially from large-scale avian flu outbreaks. Therefore, it is especially important to focus on preventive strategies to keep the virus away.

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