The USDA reported outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in South Dakota and Maryland over the weekend, adding concerns that wild birds are still spreading the disease across the U.S.
Farmers have to kill their flocks after the disease gets detected, and Mexico, China, and Korea have imposed state-specific import restrictions in response. The losses come at the same time that food prices are skyrocketing.
Reuters says this is the worst outbreak of bird flu since 2015 when almost 50 million birds were killed. Most were turkeys and egg-laying chickens in the Midwest. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer and second-largest exporter of poultry meat.
The disease is already spread around Europe and is affecting birds in Africa, Asia, and Canada. Here in the U.S, other outbreaks have already been reported in Missouri, Iowa, Delaware, Kentucky, the Carolinas, and Indiana.
USDA says the H5N1 strain can be passed on to humans, though the risk to people is low.
(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)