Return of Bird Flu Outbreak Sparks Concerns in U.S.

The resurgence of bird flu in a South Dakota turkey flock has reignited concerns about its impact on the poultry industry and the potential for a seasonal recurrence.


Worldsfeed Health Desk: A resurgence of bird flu in the U.S. has raised concerns about the end of a brief respite from the outbreak that began last April. The virus has reappeared, affecting a turkey farm in South Dakota, which was compelled to cull its 47,300-strong flock to curb the spread of the disease. Notably, between 2022 and the spring of 2023, 58.8 million birds from commercial poultry flocks were culled due to bird flu infections. While commercial poultry farms in South and North Dakota appeared to have overcome the infections last spring, this recent outbreak indicates a potential end to the break.

Commercial poultry in the U.S. had been working to rebuild flocks and managed to avoid infections in the summer months. However, the return of the virus means that more infected flocks may need to be culled to contain the avian disease. Bird flu, or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), has led to higher prices for eggs and poultry, particularly during times of inflation. Although there has been only one known case of human illness related to bird flu in the U.S., two recent deaths in Cambodia, a 50-year-old man and a two-year-old girl, were likely caused by avian flu.

The resurgence of HPAI has raised fears that it could become a regular seasonal occurrence, potentially affecting both wild birds and domestic flocks. The virus has also been detected in mammals, adding to concerns about its impact on the broader ecosystem and agriculture industry. The end of the break in the bird flu outbreak signifies a need for continued vigilance and biosecurity measures to prevent its further spread.

As HPAI returns, it highlights the ongoing challenges posed by avian influenza, with potential consequences for public health, poultry farmers, and the broader economy. The resurgence serves as a reminder of the need for effective monitoring and response measures to minimize the impact of avian flu in the future.

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