How bird flu is transmitted around the world

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends producers bring their birds indoors to prevent exposure. Precautions vary by farmer. A producer in Iowa told the AP he would wait until at least June to see if the risk passes. Some researchers say that with changing migratory patterns of wild birds around the world, the bird flu may be here to stay.

The virus is often transmitted when migratory birds defecate mid-flight over farms. That poop can continue to travel towards a flock after sticking to truck tires and boots.

Can humans get this bird flu?

Bird flu is generally not a threat to humans. A human infection of HPAI H5—as this type of bird flu is known—has typically been seen in people who were in close proximity to infected birds while not using proper PPE. Infection does not occur from eating a properly cooked bird or its eggs.

Bird flu’s effect on chicken prices

Chicken prices jumped up during the pandemic and have continued to skyrocket since February 2021. Prices are currently 23% higher than they were in 2017.

A similar trend can be seen in UK chicken prices, where a kilo of chicken costs almost £3 ($3.70). High demand for chicken feed is also a factor in rising costs, with some in the UK claiming chicken could soon be as expensive as beef.

As of March, $130 million in emergency funds have been used to respond to the outbreak by the USDA. On April 27, an additional $263 million was allocated to implement quarantines and safeguard flocks.

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