Bird Flu Comeback: Avian Flu Wipes Out 12% of US Poultry Supply

The Bird flu pestilence continues to ravage Midwest, now resulting in a 12% loss in the total US poultry supply.

The H5N2 virus first arrived in the region in February, eventually killing 47 million turkeys and chicken. The state of Iowa suffered the most with almost 30 million bird casualties, affecting egg production, which is Iowa’s top industry.

And, a few months after, the problem continues to afflict Midwest poultry farmers.

According to Paul Sauder, president of R.W. Sauder Eggs, in Lititz, Pennsylvania, 35 million birds have been discarded or slaughtered, due to the virus.

The price is going to go up,” Sauder adds. “It’s a commodity, and we follow the pricing. The biggest people affected are those buying the liquid eggs, whether that is a manufacturer making ice cream or pasta. They have felt the brunt of the price increase.”

Yet, the bird flu outbreak in the Midwest mystifies American avian experts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has concluded that wild ducks are carrying the virus along a regular migratory route that covers south from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Poultry get infected through the dropping or encounter with these waterfowl.

But, there are other bird authorities who don’t agree with the USDA conclusion. Observations bear out that the virus spread from Minnesota to Arkansas, and Missouri, an entirely different course from those taken by wild birds during their spring migration.

When you’re talking about where I would put my money, I would say that north to south movement in the beginning of March, totally does not make sense,” commneted Hon Ip, a microbiologist from the National Wildlife Health Center.

Currently, because of the avian flu virus, even egg prices are climbing dramatically. But, Sauder says it was still worth making eggs part of the American diet under its current cost.