Avian influenza (AI) is directly affecting large segments of the poultry industry, but how does that effect you? Through your pocketbook, most likely, because the eggs and chicken you eat may become more expensive if this disease continues to spread.
How is AI spread?
It is believed that AI being spread through the feces of wild birds as they migrate to the northen states this spring. The wild birds show no symptoms but spread the deadly disease to commercial birds. Wild birds have four migratory patterns in the US and three have been infected with AI: Mississippi flyway (Louisiana to Minnesota), Central Flyway (Texas to North Dakota), and Pacific Flway (California to Alaska).
As of May 13, 2015 there have been over 156 avian influenza cases reported in 15 states with over 32.6 million domestic poultry being affected.
At this time AI has affected the layer (egg) and turkey industry the most. Iowa has lost 10% of its poultry population or over 24 million commercial turkeys and chickens. Minnesota has lost over 4 million commercial turkeys and chickens.
If AI is confirmed at a poultry operation, all birds at the farm, even in different houses, must be put down so that it can not be spread anymore. That means people’s entire livelihood could end in less than a few hours, all because of something out of their control. Avian Influenza is a real threat in some parts of this nation, and even though it only directly effects farmers, everyone should be aware of this problem. Because anything that affects farmers will eventually affect you through the food supply. Because it has been proven, if you eat you are involved in agriculture.
There have been no reported cases of AI being transferred from poultry to humans in the United States, Canada, or internationally. It has also been proven that chicken is still completely safe to eat.