Posted May 13, 2015
The highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza viruses now in U.S. poultry flocks could have continued effects during the next year of wild bird migrations.
Nearly 16 million birds were expected to be killed or depopulated so far because of flock infections with an H5N2 influenza virus strain that had spread to at least 13 states as of April 29. Another highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, an H5N8 strain, had spread to a few Western U.S. commercial flocks containing about 250,000 birds.
Dr. John Clifford, chief veterinary officer for the Department of Agriculture, said the H5 avian influenza viruses have become adapted to wild waterfowl and may cause outbreaks in fall 2015 and spring 2016. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is studying pathways the viruses can use to enter poultry barns and is working with industry to mitigate risk over the summer.
The avian influenza viruses affected a greater number of chickens than turkeys, although far more turkey farms than chicken farms had infections.
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