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More than 47 million birds lost to avian influenza

Bird flu was discovered in a backyard flock in the Albuquerque area, making New Mexico the 42nd state where the viral disease has been confirmed this year, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. More than 47 million birds in domestic flocks, mostly chickens and turkeys, have died or were culled in efforts to stop the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza since early February.

By reducing the size of the U.S. laying flock, bird flu has driven up egg prices. The price of turkey breast meat has also been affected, according to analysts.

Losses topped 47 million birds this week, with outbreaks that included 159,500 game birds on a farm in central Nebraska. There were three large outbreaks in California: a turkey farm in Stanislaus County with 51,000 birds, an egg farm in Del Norte County with 43,000 hens, and a duck breeder in Monterey County with 12,000 birds.

More than 50 million chickens and turkeys died in the 2014-15 bird flu epidemic.

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