The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza outbreak continues to spread across North America, dashing hopes that warmer temperatures would halt the spread.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture reported a commercial poultry flock of 34,000 birds in Fresno County detected bird flu. This is the first commercial flock infected in the state since the outbreak started in the US in January.
The birds at the commercial broiler breeder in Fresno were immediately euthanized to protect surrounding commercial flocks.
H5N1 infections in both wild bird species and poultry are continuing around the country at a time when the virus should’ve peaked because of warmer weather.
So far this year, 40 million wild aquatic birds, commercial poultry, and backyard or hobbyist flocks have been infected by the deadly virus in 39 states.
Here are the latest reported outbreaks with multiple cases up and down the West Coast.
“Whether migratory birds will cause additional introductions in the fall is ‘the million-dollar question,'” Bryan Richards, emerging disease coordinator at the US Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, told Science.
Even though infections began to decline before summer, Richards said bird flu could circulate year-round, posing a permanent threat to poultry farming.
So what does this mean for consumers? We outlined months ago that US egg production plunged to a seven-year low as millions of egg-producing hens were euthanized to prevent further virus transmission, sending egg prices at the supermarket sky-high.