As the U.S. poultry industry continues to contend with the nation’s worst outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) ever, experts are weighing in on the difficulties of trying to contain the bird-killing virus.
“This is the largest animal emergency that the USDA has faced in this country,” Gino Lorenzoni, an assistant professor of poultry science and avian health at Pennsylvania State University, told NBC News.
Efforts to prevent infections in commercial and backyard flocks are particularly difficult in that HPAI infections can come from wild birds. In addition to direct exposure, fecal matter can contaminate the grounds around farms and yards, the story published Thursday noted.
The USDA on Thursday announced a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for HPAI in the U.S., with the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requesting public comment to define its scope. The agency said it would consider all comments received on or before Feb. 17.
As of Thursday, the government’s tally included confirmed HPAI infections in 732 commercial and backyard flocks, affecting 57.87 million birds since February 2022. The latest infection was confirmed Wednesday in Lampasas County, Texas, according to APHIS.
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