After a hiatus of many months, bird flu has returned to the Midwest earlier than expected. The highly virulent disease has been found in two commercial turkey flocks in western Minnesota and a hobby flock in Indiana, officials announced Wednesday.
Bird Flu 2022
According to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, the disease was discovered after a farm in Meeker County reported a rise in mortality over the last weekend. To stop the spread, the flock was put to sleep. The board later confirmed that a second flock in the county tested positive on Tuesday night.
They were the first avian influenza cases discovered in Minnesota since a small flock in Becker County was infected on May 31. Before this week, the Midwest had not seen a case since a backyard flock there tested positive on June 8. Indiana’s case was the region’s first since that time.
In contrast, there have been many detections in western states in July and August, including California, where more than 425,000 hens and turkeys have had to be killed at six commercial farms since last week due to the outbreak. Along with a few eastern states, there have also been occurrences in Washington, Oregon, and Utah.
We have been planning for a rebound of avian influenza we dealt with this spring, even though the timing of this detection is a little earlier than we anticipated, said Dr. Shauna Voss, the board’s senior veterinarian. “Biosecurity is the primary line of defense against HPAI and is necessary to safeguard your birds,”
A small hobby flock of chickens, ducks, and geese in northern Indiana’s Elkhart County tested presumptively positive on Tuesday, according to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. However, official confirmation from a federal lab was still awaited.
According to The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports, 414 flocks in 39 states have been infected nationwide since February, costing producers over 40 million birds, principally commercial chickens, and turkeys. This year, the disease has affected 81 flocks in Minnesota, necessitating the slaughter of close to 2.7 million birds. Minnesota produces the most turkeys each year.
This year’s outbreak increased the price of eggs and meat and claimed an alarming number of bald eagles and other wild birds. It decreased in June, but officials warned that another surge might occur this fall.
Birds that migrate frequently carry the sickness with them. The USDA prevents birds from flocks with the disease from entering the food chain and only rarely impacts humans, such as farm employees. In 15 states, a large-scale outbreak in 2015 resulted in the deaths of 50 million birds, costing the federal government around $1 billion.
Measures To Prevent Bird Flu
- People should generally avoid coming into direct touch with wild birds and only observe them from a distance.
- Even if they don’t appear ill, wild birds can carry avian (bird) influenza (flu) A viruses.
- Keep your distance from domestic birds (poultry) that appear unwell or are deceased.
- Avoid touching surfaces that may be touched by wild or domesticated bird feces, mucus, or saliva.
Avoiding sources of exposure is the most excellent strategy to stop the spread of bird flu. Birds with bird flu shed the virus via their saliva, mucus, and excrement. People rarely transmit the bird flu virus, but if enough of it enters a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth or is inhaled, it can cause human diseases. This can occur when a person touches something with a virus and then contacts their mouth, eyes, or nose or when a person breathes in the virus in the air (in droplets or dust). People are most likely to transmit the bird flu after having close, prolonged, and unprotected (without gloves or other protective clothing) contact with sick birds and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.
Bird Flu Vaccine
The federal government of the U.S keeps a supply of vaccines on hand, including shots for the A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) bird flu viruses. If viruses of a similar nature started to spread quickly from one person to another, these vaccines might be utilized. The CDC continues to produce candidate vaccine viruses (CVVs) as necessary because flu viruses evolve. The first stage in making a flu vaccination is to create a CVV.