Ending a five-month hiatus, highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed in commercial flocks in two states — turkey farms in Utah and South Dakota — said the Agriculture Department. Some 58.97 million birds, mostly egg-laying chickens and turkeys being raised for human consumption, have died in bird flu outbreaks that began in February 2022.
The outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza that killed a record 58.8 million birds in domestic flocks and drove up egg prices in 2022 and early 2023 has faded during the summer months, said USDA data published on Monday. Only three outbreaks, totaling 1,860 birds, have been discovered since Memorial Day, according to USDA's online list of confirmed cases.
The government will stamp out bird flu through aggressive culling of infected flocks and is unlikely to turn to vaccines as a tool against the disease, said Agriculture Undersecretary Jenny Moffitt on Tuesday. Moffitt told lawmakers the USDA has devoted $1.3 billion to quell a 14-month-old outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza and to keep African swine fever out of the country.
Fewer than 900,000 birds in domestic flocks have died due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) this year, said the Agriculture Department in a review of bird flu outbreaks that date from February 2022.
The Agriculture Department promotes comprehensive biosecurity measures on the farm as the "best and prudent approach" to combat bird flu outbreaks that have killed 58.6 million birds in domestic flocks in 13 months. The viral disease drove up egg prices during 2022 and, after a respite early this year, egg prices are on the rise again with the approach of Easter.
A month after the USDA proposed new rules to make school meals healthier, hundreds of school nutrition directors will come to Washington next week to tell lawmakers to reject the stricter standards. The School Nutrition Association, which represents school food workers nationwide, argues that stricter rules will be difficult for schools to meet, as they still face labor shortages and supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the avian flu epidemic. (No paywall)
The ongoing bird flu outbreak is the largest ever in Europe and North America, and recent reports suggest the disease has passed from mammal to mammal, raising the risk of a spillover into humans, said a U.S. medical journal. The director general of the World Health Organization said that while the risk to people remained low, the reported infections in mink, otters, and sea lions “must be monitored closely.”
Wholesale egg prices are down more than $1 a dozen since hitting a record daily average price of $5.40 a dozen in the week before Christmas, said USDA economists in the monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry report.
A record 50.54 million birds in domestic flocks have died of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), or were culled to prevent spread of the viral disease since February, according to USDA data.
The federal government will keep a closer eye on threats to the U.S. food supply, such as cyberattacks and pandemic diseases, under a national security memorandum signed by President Biden.
The Agriculture Department has spent $450 million to combat this year’s outbreak of bird flu, but losses among domestic flocks are nearing the record set seven years ago in the largest-ever U.S. animal health emergency. The outbreak has driven up egg prices and tightened the supply of holiday turkeys.
For the first time, researchers have tracked the movements of a wild duck infected with bird flu, information that could help them come up with disease mitigation strategies against the viral disease, said the U.S. Geological Survey on Wednesday. More than 47.7 million birds in U.S. domestic flocks have died in outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza since February.
Bird flu cases have been reported from the Arctic islands of northern Norway to southern Portugal this year in the largest epidemic yet seen in Europe of the disease, said the E.U. food safety agency on Monday. The virus that causes highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was unusually persistent during the summer and the risk of disease among flocks would increase with autumn migratory season, it said.
Scientists confirmed a backyard flock of poultry in northwestern Tennessee was infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), part of a resurgence of the disease in the central states. Some 3.37 million birds in domestic flocks have died of bird flu so far this month; nationwide losses during September will be the largest since April.
After a summertime lull, bird flu is back in the Midwest, the heart of U.S. egg and turkey production, with outbreaks at commercial poultry farms in Minnesota and Ohio since Sept. 1. Some 43.85 million birds have been culled this year due to highly pathogenic avian influenza, and one analyst says turkey and egg prices may remain elevated for some time to come.
Higher consumer demand and lower supplies are driving up pork and egg prices, but after increasing for six months in a row, the U.S. food inflation rate for 2022 is unchanged this month, said the USDA on Thursday.
While beef and broiler meat exports surged in the first half of this year, egg exports plummeted 38 percent, turkey 20 percent and pork 18 percent, said USDA economists. Eggs and turkeys "were negatively impacted by the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), according to the Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, issued monthly.
While this year’s outbreaks of bird flu, the worst in seven years, are following the usual pattern of dissipating during hot weather, it’s too early to declare the threat over, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday.