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Monday March 04, 2024

Bird flu in US: Ohio farm to kill 1.35 million chickens amid scare of wider outbreak

8.1 million birds have been slaughtered this year in the US over fears of diseases

By Web Desk
November 25, 2023
A flock of chickens in a farm. — AFP/File
A flock of chickens in a farm. — AFP/File

An Ohio egg farm is killing over 1.3 million hens as the avian flu continues to wreak havoc on the business following the confirmation of a case in the hen flock this week. 

The US Department of Agriculture said that all 1.35 million hens on the farm in Union County, Ohio, will be put to death in an effort to stop the virus's spread.

The early 2022 epidemic has been considerably less severe this year because fewer instances of the virus are being discovered among the wild birds that disseminate it. 

However, 8.1 million birds have been slaughtered this year in an effort to stop the disease's spread, with 5.8 million of those deaths occurring only this month as a result of attacks on several sizable egg farms. 

This includes 940,000 hens at one egg farm in Minnesota that had to be put to death and 1.2 million birds at one in Iowa.

Compared to turkey or chicken farms, egg farms are often significantly bigger, sometimes housing millions of birds. This is largely the reason why Iowa, the state that produces the most eggs in the US, has been the most severely affected by the outbreak, with about 17.3 million birds lost. 

Despite being one of the states that produce the most eggs, Ohio has only had 5.1 million birds killed by bird flu.

Significant cases of avian flu have also been confirmed on farms in Minnesota, Maryland, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Georgia, and California this week. 

However, the largest of those incidents included the slaughter of 198,200 chickens at a farm in Maryland.

Approximately 58 million birds were killed as a result of the epidemic in 2022. Wild birds easily transmit the extremely infectious virus through their droppings and nasal secretions.

Farmers are putting a lot of effort into preventing the virus from spreading to their flocks by sanitising vehicles that arrive on the property, making employees change clothing and take a shower before entering barns, and purchasing different sets of equipment for each barn. However, it is particularly challenging to keep the virus out of the major migratory bird migration routes that lead south for the winter.

According to officials, there isn't a serious health risk associated with avian flu. There are very few human cases of the disease, and no birds are permitted to enter the country's food chain. Any viruses can be eliminated by properly cooking eggs and poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.89 degrees Celsius).