The worst Avian flu outbreak on record continues to devastate poultry farms throughout the world. In the US alone, 58 million birds have died in the last 12 months. The current outbreaks are driven by wild birds, which transmit the virus to poultry farms. Avian flu, sometimes called bird flu, is highly contagious and deadly, killing nearly every chicken it infects. Infectious wild birds do not need direct contact with the farm-raised birds to spread the virus, since the wind can carry droppings throughout the property. When one case of bird flu is found, farms often must kill the whole flock to contain the virus.
The last major Avian flu outbreak occurred in 2015, when the virus killed more than 50 million birds in the US. However, this outbreak faded within several months, as is typical with this virus. Industry experts and scientists warn the current crisis will likely persist into the foreseeable future. As the bird flu circulates unabated, it becomes a greater threat to the food supply. Longer-term this also means the virus will evolve at an accelerated rate, raising the likelihood that it becomes more dangerous to humans.