Dr. Claudia Osorio, associate advisor for Elanco Animal Health took a look at the current highly pathogenic bird flu situation in US at the 2023 Latin American Poultry Summit today.
Described as the “worst bird flu outbreak in US history”, the virus continues to decimate poultry flocks across the country and affect egg prices and supply. Dr. Osorio, referring to USDA data of 20 January, pointed out that so far outbreaks have been confirmed in 736 flocks in 47 of the 50 US states. 309 were commercial flocks and 427 backyard flocks. As of now 57.89 million birds have been affected by the ongoing bird flu situation, she said.
Dr. Osorio argued that the bird flu situation which is continuing to unfold in North America has taught some lessons that can be applied to the Latin American market.
However, Dr. Osorio warned that in recent weeks the virus has been increasingly transmitted to mammals and wild species, especially in the northern US states. Although the number of cases in mammals remains relatively small, there have been documented cases of highly pathogenic bird flu in raccoons, black bears and in coyotes.
Three grizzly bears were also euthanised in Montana this week after they tested positive for highly pathogenic bird flu, according to the state’s Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. These were the first documented cases of bird flu in a grizzly in Montana and the first nationwide for this outbreak of bird flu, said Dr. Jennifer Ramsey, the department’s wildlife veterinarian.
It is likely that the mammals got infected from consuming carcasses of virus-infected birds.