Biosecurity measures help combat spread of avian flu in U.S.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza returned to the U.S. in January 2022: H1N5, a particularly contagious (among birds) form of the virus. The U.S. poultry industry has applied the many biosecurity best practices learned during the avian flu outbreak in 2014-15, which has limited the transmission of the virus between farms—lateral spread. In 2014-15, lateral spread made the virus challenging to eradicate.
Losses have still been terrible, however. As of Apr. 19, over 58.6 million birds in the U.S. poultry flock (across 47 states) had been culled due to the virus, surpassing the total lost during 2014-15. (This number includes backyard poultry.)
U.S. poultry producers are working to recover from 2022’s losses. As of March 2023, there were 382.5 million layers on hand, a 12-month high although down half a percent from March 2022, which itself was down over 2 percent from March 2021, reflecting losses from the flu.
USDA is testing a vaccine for poultry flocks, with results from a one-dose trial likely to be released in May and a two-dose trial to be released in June.
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