Deadly bird flu growing in US, could impact international imports

Health

(NewsNation) — So far in 2022, bird flu has been detected in 39 states, and the infection seems to be growing in the Midwest.

The infection, avian influenza, killed 700 black vultures in Georgia, forcing a sanctuary there to close. At the state fair in Alaska, poultry exhibits were canceled due to flu concerns.

This week in Minnesota, the sickness is back earlier than expected. And in Indiana, a flock of 500 birds preliminary tested positive. All of these cases are raising concerns for experts in the Midwest.

“This virus is still out in the environment, likely being carried by those wild migratory waterfowl where we found so much of it in the last few months. It’s a reminder to anybody who owns birds, large or small flock size … be careful (to) practice good biosecurity,” said Denise Derrer Spears, public information director at the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

“There’s 39 states so far that have been affected by this disease that just this year alone. And so we know it’s out there in the environment, and it’s on the move,” Spears added.

As birds move and migrate around the country, the spread could continue, and other countries might take notice.

“It affects our ability to trade internationally, because when the birds get sick like this, other countries are afraid to take our imports. We move a lot of poultry products, a lot of eggs to other countries. And so that’s another reason that we need to make sure that we’re high path avian flu free,” Spears said. 

Experts say a dose of Tamiflu could help bird flu symptoms if taken quickly upon diagnosis.

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