Avian influenza outbreak stirs concerns over Montana pheasant release

As June arrives, the U.S. poultry industry is breathing a sigh of relief that the worst of the most recent outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) appears to be over.

HPAI is a highly contagious viral disease in chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese, and many wild birds. It’s carried by wild waterfowl and spread to other birds through contact with an infected bird’s feces, saliva, and respiratory secretions. There is no cure for HPAI. Once an individual within a flock of domestic birds tests positive for HPAI the entire flock must be destroyed to halt the spread of the infection.

As of May 28, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that 355 flocks in 35 states had tested positive for HPAI, necessitating the destruction of nearly 38 million chickens, turkeys, and ducks. However, nationwide, new confirmations of HPAI are in steep decline as the spring migration of waterfowl to their nesting grounds in the North American tundra draws toward a close.

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