Bird flu in Nebraska culls 1.8 million more chickens
Similar to other farms where bird flu has been discovered this year, all chickens on the Nebraska farm will be killed to limit the spread of the disease. The US Department of Agriculture says more than 52.3 million birds in 46 states – mostly chickens and turkeys on commercial farms – have been culled in this year’s outbreak.
Nebraska is second only to Iowa’s 15.5 million birds killed, with 6.8 million birds now affected on 13 farms.
In most past bird flu outbreaks, the virus has largely died out over the summer, but this year’s version has found a way to linger and has started making a resurgence this fall with more 6 million birds killed in September.
The virus is mainly spread by wild birds as they migrate across the country. Wild birds can often carry the disease without showing symptoms. The virus is spread through the feces or nasal secretions of an infected bird, which can contaminate dust and soil.
Commercial farms have taken steps to prevent the virus from infecting their herds, including requiring workers to change clothes before entering barns and disinfecting trucks as they enter the farm, but the disease can be difficult to control. Zoos have also taken precautions and closed some exhibits to protect their birds.
Officials say the virus poses little risk to human health because human cases are extremely rare and infected birds are not allowed to enter the country’s food supply. Additionally, all viruses will be killed by properly cooking poultry at 74 degrees Celsius (165 degrees Fahrenheit).
But the bird flu outbreak has contributed to higher chicken and turkey prices as well as soaring feed and fuel prices.