Deadly Avian Flu impacting U.S. poultry industry

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Washington D.C. The avian flu has killed off over 48-million chickens and turkeys in the U.S. since December of last year. Some agriculture experts fear—the virus could get worse.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry held a hearing Tuesday to discuss ways to combat the deadly bird virus.

“We’ve got to be vigilant about this,” said Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

With the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, the current bird flu strand is killing millions of birds that could put a dent in your wallet—with less supply of meat and eggs.

“It means higher prices, it means a slaughter of these animals which is unfortunate,” said Brown.

“The ripple effect that hpai has had on these rural communities is dramatic and widespread,” said Kansas Senator Pat Roberts.

The United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed HPAI in 21 states since December of 2014 and they believe wild birds are to blame for this flu.
In response to this growing problem the USDA is detecting the HPAI in birds as quickly as possible and killing them off before the virus spreads.

“These farms are a lot bigger. It used to be a farmer would have a few hundred chickens now there’s these really big poultry farms--increasing the risk and making it harder to manage,” said Brown.

The good news here is that so far this bird flu is not a risk to humans health or the food you eat as long as it’s cooked properly.

The USDA says the avian flu spreads through the air, soil, feces or farm equipment. The department also says that it’s very likely wild birds may carry the virus with them to the south in the fall.