This yr’s fowl flu outbreak is now the worst in U.S. historical past


Practically 53 million U.S. birds have died this yr as a result of avian flu, marking the worst outbreak in nationwide historical past and fueling the vacation turkey scarcity.

Since January, 52.48 million birds in 46 states have died due to the virus itself or as a result of they had been killed to curb publicity of different birds, the U.S. Division of Agriculture stated in a Tuesday report. The overwhelming majority had been poultry, although a number of thousand had been wild birds, based on federal knowledge.

Previous to this yr, the most important fowl flu outbreak in U.S. historical past occurred in 2015, in what the USDA on the time referred to as “arguably essentially the most important animal well being occasion in U.S. historical past.” 

That yr, 50.5 million birds in 21 states died as a result of strains H5N2 and H5N8, deemed “extremely pathogenic” avian influenza (HPAIs) by the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The pressure affecting birds this yr, H5N1, can also be thought of an HPAI. Since January, it’s been detected in wild aquatic birds, industrial poultry, and yard and pastime flocks. 

Some HPAIs just like H5N1 are identified to break a number of organs and kill from 90% to 100% of chickens they infect. The excellent news: The H5N1 pressure at present circulating is assumed to pose little threat to people, and just one human case has been reported thus far this yr, based on the CDC. The affected person, a poultry farm employee in Colorado, was handled with antivirals outdoors of the hospital and suffered solely fatigue, based on the World Well being Group.

The fowl flu has prompted a variety of diseases in people earlier than, from gentle to extreme. Thus, the CDC urges warning when interacting with birds, each at work and at residence. To keep away from contracting the fowl flu or spreading it to different birds or animals like pets, the company recommends that individuals:

  • Keep away from direct contact with wild birds when doable.
  • Understand that birds don’t should look sick to hold fowl flu.
  • Don’t contact birds that look sick, or useless birds, with out sporting protecting gear.
  • Don’t contact surfaces that may have saliva, mucus, or feces from any sort of fowl, wild or home, and definitely don’t contact your eyes, nostril, or mouth if you happen to do contact such surfaces.
  • Wash your palms after touching birds.
  • Use protecting gear like gloves, an N95 respirator or a well-fitting face masks, and eye safety, if you happen to work with birds.
  • Change your garments after working with sick poultry and/or after dealing with wild birds. Throw away your PPE and wash your palms with cleaning soap and water.

The USDA reminds customers to prepare dinner all poultry and eggs to an inside temperature of 165˚F as a normal precaution.

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