Bird flu outbreak prompts Nebraska to cull 1.8 million more chickens

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About 1.8 million more chickens must be killed in Nebraska to prevent the spread of a highly pathogenic bird flu virus, state officials said, as the US sees its worst outbreak of the disease in seven years.

The latest outbreak of bird flu in the state was found at a northeastern Nebraska egg-laying farm in Dixon County, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture said Saturday.

As the virus spreads through commercial and backyard chicken and turkey flocks, agriculture officials are encouraging poultry producers to watch for signs of infection and report any cases to state or federal officials.

Nebraska, with 6.8 million birds affected by the outbreak, is the second worst affected state after Iowa, where 15.5 million birds were culled.

More than 50 million birds in 46 states have already died this year — mostly from culling to control the spread, but some from the deadly virus itself. It is the largest outbreak since 2015, when 50 million birds died.
What we know about the deadliest US bird flu outbreak in 7 years

There is little chance of people contracting the virus. Human cases are extremely rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because properly cooking poultry and eggs kills bacteria and viruses.

The bird flu outbreak also contributed to the increase in consumer prices of eggs and poultry, in addition to increased costs due to inflation.

Unlike the 2015 outbreak, this one appears to be much more difficult to stop because it appears to spread easily among wild birds. Waterfowl – and the raptors that eat their carcasses – can carry the flu virus long distances and have the ability to transmit the virus to poultry.

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