Avian Flu has Killed Over 57 Million Chickens, Sending Poultry Industry into Crisis
An unprecedented Avian Flu pandemic has caused more than 57 million US chickens and turkeys to die over the last 12 months. The virus has poultry has severely damaged the poultry industry throughout the world. In the US poultry farmers have been forced to kill 40 million egg-laying chickens, causing the cost of eggs to soar. Just a few months ago, the price of turkey hit record high levels. “As it is now, this is the largest animal emergency that the USDA has faced in this country,” said Gino Lorenzoni, an assistant professor of poultry science and avian health at Pennsylvania State University. The current Avian Flu crisis has been harder to contain than past outbreaks because the virus is now more widespread in wild bird populations. Even when a poultry farm eliminates the virus from its facility, the new flock can be infected either through direct contact with wild birds or with their bodily fluids. Experts say that failure to reign in the virus soon could allow the virus to mutate, leading to a potentially bleak outlook for poultry farmers. “With all those replications, it can accumulate a lot of different change”, explained Lorenzoni. “This is happening as we speak, and this is why I’m afraid influenza is going to be with us for a long while.
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