Saturday, March 14, 2015

Highly Contagious and Armed: Bird Flu Coming to a Poultry Farm Near You?

According to the USDA, there has been an outbreak of H5N2 avian flu in poultry in Kansas as of March 13, 2015. This news comes after the USDA identified the first case of bird flu in Arkansas turkeys, followed by cases in Minnesota and Missouri. For context, Missouri is the nation's largest turkey producer. 

This discovery was made in a migratory path for birds between Montana and Texas, and there will likely be several more cases identified as a result of this pattern of transmission. Based upon molecular testing, it has been suggested that this virus has also been found in migratory birds, though this finding has not been corroborated strongly. According to the CDC, the risk of infection for humans from this outbreak is rather low, but in response to these outbreaks, thousands of birds will likely be culled. 

Additionally, this news has led to Mexico, Canada, and the European Union to ban imports from the U.S., which will likely lead to huge losses to poultry farmers. This news is predicted to lead to import bans from roughly 40 other countries; the U.S. poultry and egg market represents $5.7 billion in exports; this represents 20% of chicken and 14% of the turkey produced in the United States. The hope is that the efforts of the CDC and other vested entities will lead to the curbing of this H5N2 outbreak and a quick resurgence of national poultry markets.

- Nicole


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