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Number of U.S. birds affected by avian flu exceeds 68 million

Spread has been primarily from wild migratory waterfowl.

Krissa Welshans

December 4, 2023

1 Min Read

The number of birds affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in 2022-2023 has now exceeded 68 million birds, according to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). A commercial egg laying operation of 82,500 birds in California as well as a turkey operation of 33,000 birds in Ohio are two of the latest operations confirmed with the virus. Numerous backyard flocks in several states have also reported the virus.

Yet to be included in the APHIS numbers, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection confirmed Dec. 1 that a poultry operation of 114,886 has tested positive in Barron County.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture announced Dec. 4 that it is awaiting confirmation on a presumptive positive case of HPAI in a backyard flock in Pottawatomie County. If confirmed, it would be the first case of HPAI in Kansas this fall.

“If you have not yet taken steps to protect your backyard flocks, now is the time to take this threat seriously,” said Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Dr. Justin Smith.

Fall has brought a resurgence of HPAI nationwide, and KDA is advising owners of poultry flocks to be particularly vigilant in protecting their birds. Analysis of the outbreak of HPAI has shown that the spread has been primarily from wild migratory waterfowl, which makes free-range backyard flocks at high risk because of the potential of exposure to the wild birds. 

Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard chicken owner to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds, KDA said.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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