The 2015 total of 50.54m birds, including turkeys, has exceeded the previous record set in 2015.

Over 40 states have been affected by the virus, nearly twice as many as the victims of the previous outbreak.

Although there is a low risk to humans, authorities have warned about the need for safety precautions near birds.

Wild birds spread the virus by direct contact with feathers, feces, and other bodily fluids.

Rosemary Sifford was quoted by Reuters saying, “Wildbirds continue to spread HPAI [highly-pathogenic avian influenza] throughout this country as they migrate. Therefore, preventing contact among domestic flocks is critical for protecting US poultry.”

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced that the current outbreak is still under control. It advised Americans to avoid direct contact with wild birds, and to avoid unprotected poultry contact, in order to prevent the spread to other animals and humans.

The statement stated that “this applies not only to workplaces or wildlife settings but also potentially to household settings in which people have backyard flocks of or pet birds with potential exposures wild or domestically infected birds.”

Although cases of human infection are rare, the CDC website warns that this virus can spread via airborne droplets or dust.

Previous symptoms of bird flu in humans included eye redness, mild flu-like symptoms, and difficulty breathing. The World Health Organization (WHO), which records 868 cases of bird flu transmission to humans, has recorded 456 deaths between 2003-November 2022.

The recent outbreak has only reported one case in the US, a Colorado resident who had been directly exposed to poultry. According to April’s CDC report, the victim reported feeling tired for a few days before recovering.

In the US, turkey and eggs prices rose ahead of Thanksgiving last week due to the avian flu. American Farm Bureau is a lobbying organization and an insurance company based in the US. They stated that the price for traditional Thanksgiving turkeys has increased 21% over the past year to nearly $29 (PS24.05), for a 16-pound bird (7.5kg).

Record numbers of cases of avian influenza have been reported across Europe and the UK as well as in parts of Africa, Asia and Africa.

The World Organisation for Animal Health believes that the current outbreaks are the result of international trade and farming practices. The organisation claims that more than 4.6 millions birds died or were culled during the period of mid-October to mid-November.

Officials in England issued a directive on 31 October to keep all captive birds and poultry indoors beginning 7 November due to concerns about the outbreak.

Similar measures were implemented in Northern Ireland on Monday. The same measure will be applied in Wales on Tuesday, 2 December.

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