Bird flu has been reported to be devastating the poultry industry of the Midwestern US for the past two weeks. Iowa, the top egg producer in the United States, Wisconsin and Minesotta are the most affected states.
The particular virus that is decimating businesses across the Midwestern US is called H5N2, a mutation of H5N1 and H5N8, the latter having been found in Siberia last summer. Due to bird migration, the virus reached the United States territory, as well as Ontario, Canada. But for two weeks it is affecting a much larger number of poultry, mainly chicken and turkey, as well as businesses.
Evidence suggests that the H5N2 influenza has not spread from any other farm on the US territory, but that it has been introduced to the environment by wild birds, the US Department of Agriculture stated.
So far, 8 million chicken and turkeys have been destroyed in order to cease the spreading of the virus. This puts great economic strain on the businesses and the agencies that are trying to solve the issue in a timely manner. Commercial poultry stocks have been decimated and in effect China, South Korea or Mexico are already banning US produce, thus blowing a strike to the 45 billion dollars industry. The US government has deployed more than 365 employees from the Department of Agriculture to deal with the crisis and other agencies are also working on it.
In trying to get some answers for the issue, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota declared that all factors are being taken into consideration. The H5N2 virus is highly contagious among poultry, yet there are no signs of human beings being affected by it. Nonetheless, a drug has been indicated in those areas most affected, just to counter possible mutation and transmission of the virus to humans.
Meanwhile, the biosecurity measures at infected farms have been topped up a notch among suspicions that dust, wind, wild birds or human factors could lead to an escalation of the outbreak. Vaccination of poultry has been indicated as another possible measure against the background of infected farms having to kill their produce at the moment in order to stop H5N2. The Department of Agriculture started tests on a vaccine, but the hopes of such a treatment are slim as previous attempts in China, Indonesia and Egypt showed that poultry vaccination did not get rid of the virus mutation.
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