In 2015, the greatest bird flu outbreak occurred within the United States—totaling about $3.3 billion in cost. As of today, a similar problem persists. A new type of bird flu is being evaluated by United States farm and health officials, which impose threats not only on poultry, but humans as well. As a result, the government is initiating emergency plans that were constructed during last year’s devastating bird flu plague.
According to CNBC’s report, actions were taken after news of the virus reaching an Indiana turkey farm. Despite efforts, it will be tough for officials to contain the disease as the virus can be spread by feces dropping through the air. Regardless of the challenge, attempts are still being made. Officials continue to notify other states of possible spreading, while examining humans that could have been exposed by the disease.
Due to the unfamiliarity with this new type of bird flu, extra caution is being taken to prevent the situation from scaling like last year. The 2015 outbreak itself, affected more than 48 million turkeys and chickens. However, poultry isn’t the only worrisome case as humans aren’t safe either. “Strains similar to the new virus, known as H7N8, have on rare occasions made people ill…” reads the article. Although it is uncommon for humans to contract the disease, it is not impossible either.
As part of government’s bird flu plan, individuals who interacted with tainted turkeys were closely monitored. Also, plans of conducting lab tests on the new strain are in the works. “There is always uncertainty around any new strain of influenza because the virus acquires mutations passing from host to host,” the article mentions. In the case of Indiana, it is thought that the turkeys were first infected by a less threatening form of the virus, which was later mutated as it passed from host to host – creating this new strand.
With the USDA quickly working to cull infected birds and test possibly infected flocks, one can notice the strengthened efforts being made against bird flu. Farmers and government alike have grown their strategies in the difficult process of bird flu containment, in the hopes of averting another massive epidemic.