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324991

Bird flu toll leaps to 2.8 million chickens and turkeys

With new outbreaks in Iowa and Missouri, nearly 2.8 million birds — almost entirely chickens and turkeys — have died in one month due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the Agriculture Department said on Monday. The viral disease has been identified in 23 poultry farms and backyard flocks in a dozen states since February 8, when the first report of “high path” bird flu in a domestic flock was reported.

HPAI was confirmed over the weekend on a turkey farm with 50,000 birds in Buena Vista County in northwestern Iowa and in a backyard mixed-species flock of 43 birds in Bates County in western Missouri, about 50 miles south of Kansas City.

Those discoveries followed the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s confirmation of HPAI in a flock of 664,061 laying hens in Cecil County, in the northeast corner of Maryland, and in 360,000 broiler chickens in Stoddard County, in southeastern Missouri.

More than 50 million chickens and turkeys died in an HPAI epidemic that ran from December 2014 through June 2015, driving up egg prices and leaving some grocery stores short of eggs. The outbreak also triggered import bans by some countries against U.S. poultry meat; 16% of U.S. poultry meat is exported.

The USDA list of HPAI outbreaks is available here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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