Viral Flu Gobbles Turkey Population


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The poultry industry, federal government and state governments have been working together to help reduce its spread. Farmers work to keep wild birds carrying the virus out of their barns, and use additional sanitation methods.

Thanksgiving is only two weeks away and you can eat as much food as you possibly please. All the food and dessert will leave you in a commonly used phrase, “a food coma.” Along with the food, students will be on “Thanksgiving break” and will be spending time with family and friends. Someone in your family goes to the supermarket to find a Thanksgiving turkey, but there is none. They look at the price of turkey and it is astronomically over average. What happened to Thanksgiving turkey?

Not only has inflation raised the prices of many items at the grocery store but a virulent avian influenza bird epidemic has cleared over 47 million chickens and turkeys since February of 2022. The United States Department of Agriculture announced the first case of the virus in Turkey. To date, bird flu viruses have been found in U.S. commercial and backyard poultry. The virus is leaving farmers short of their usual stock. Consumers have to pay an additional 20 percent or more per pound of Turkey this Thanksgiving.

“One of my friends was talking about the ‘turkey flu’ and I thought it was not a real thing,” said sophomore Ronald Yourey. “It turns out it is an outbreak and turkey is scarce. I have a big family so we need a lot of turkey but maybe this year that might be substituted,” said Yourey.
Historically speaking, there have only been three reported outbreaks of the avian influenza in America; 1924, 1983, 2004, 2015, and now in 2022. The outbreaks in 1924 and 2004 were easily contained but the others caused massive depopulation in birds.

“I was not aware of the outbreak in Turkey,” said senior Brandon Wollam. He adds, “I feel that the holidays would not be the same without Turkey and this flu and inflation will make it harder for Turkey to be bought,” said Woollam.

This year’s avian flu outbreak is on track to surpass the outbreak in 2015, when 50.5 million birds died in what was then the nation’s worst animal-health event. The virus was first first identified in Minnesota.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the virus poses a negligible health threat to humans. There have been some rare cases of human infection in these viruses. The symptoms from the bird flu virus infection ranges in severity from having no symptoms or mild illness to severe disease that can result in death. Infected birds can share their disease through saliva, mucous, and feces. If you think you have been infected with avian influenza A virus, the CDC has posted guidance and health professionals in the U.S.