Chicken eggs are laid in an isolated farm in the moshav (village) of Margayot, northern Israel, on January 3, 2022.
Expand / Chicken eggs are laid in an isolated farm in the moshav (village) of Margayot, northern Israel, on January 3, 2022.

The ongoing bird flu outbreak in the US is now the longest and deadliest on record. great 57 million birds They have been killed or killed by the virus since a year ago, and the deadly disruption has helped fuel soaring egg prices and the egg smuggling trade.

Since highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) was first detected in American birds in January 2022, the price of a carton of a dozen eggs rose from an average of $1.79 in December 2021 to $4.25 in December 2022. It showed an increase of 137 percent. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although inflation and supply chain issues partially explain the increase, eggs have seen the highest percentage increase of any specific food. Consumer Price Index.

And the pricing is leading some to smuggle illegal cartons across the U.S.-Mexico border, which is prohibited. A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told NPR this week that people in El Paso, Texas, are buying eggs in Juarez, Mexico, because “Significantly less expensiveMeanwhile, a customs official in San Diego tweeted a warning that failure to declare such agricultural produce at the port of entry could result in an increase in egg poaching. A fine of up to 10,000 dollars.

Bad results

Still, the pain in America’s grocery dairy industry pales in comparison to the devastation it’s wreaking on poultry. HPAI A(H5N1) has been detected in wild birds in 50 states, and 47 have reported outbreaks in poultry. up to date, 731 outbreaks in 371 districts. Late last month, two outbreaks in Weakley County, Tennessee, affected 62,600 chickens.

At the one-year mark, the outbreak is the longest bird flu outbreak on US record. And with 57 million bird deaths in 47 states, the 50.5 million birds in 21 states were deadlier than the record in 2015.

Although the virus is highly contagious to birds and often fatal, the risk to humans is minimal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that avian influenza type A viruses (bird flu viruses) do not generally infect people, although it can occasionally occur when people have close or prolonged unexpected contact with infected birds. Once in a person, the virus rarely jumps from person to person.

In the current outbreak, the CDC has tracked more than 5,000 people who have come into contact with infected birds, but only so far. A single bird flu in humans. The reported case in Colorado came from a person who worked directly with infected birds and was involved in contamination. The man had mild symptoms and recovered.

Fears of the flu

Although the current data is reassuring, virologists and epidemiologists still fear the possibility that flu viruses such as bird flu will evolve into human-infected viruses and cause pandemics. A report published in Eurosurveillance magazine In the year On January 19, he expressed his concern. Researchers in Spain documented an outbreak of avian flu among mink farmed on the northwest coast last October. Minicu was likely infected by wild seabirds during the current wave of H5N1 infection. In October, more and more mink became ill, suggesting that mink-to-mink transmission had occurred, resulting in the total colony loss of approximately 52,000 animals since the end of October.

In particular, the H5N1 virus that infects the mink had a rare mutation that allowed it to spread to the mink. Not only is the mammalian-to-mammalian transmission of avian viruses of interest, but it may act as a viral mixer, particularly in mink. According to the authors of the Spanish report:

Experimental and field data show that minx are susceptible and permissive to avian and human influenza A viruses, leading to the hypothesis that this species may serve as a conduit for transmission of different species between birds, mammals, and humans.

As such, the authors concluded, “It is important to strengthen the culture of biosafety and biosecurity in this agricultural system and to implement global ad hoc surveillance programs for influenza A viruses and other zoonotic pathogens.”

None of the workers in the mink farm were infected with HIV, the authors report. However, due to the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, they understand that the use of face masks is mandatory for all mining workers in Spain. And when illness was first detected on the farm, the workers there took precautions in case of SARS-CoV-2, which included disposable overalls, face shields, changing face masks twice a day and frequent hand washing. On October 4.



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