In updates posted over the last few days, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has reported more highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks in poultry in six states, including at a large broiler farm in Tennessee.
The outbreak in Tennessee occurred in Weakley County, which since the middle of December has reported five outbreaks at commercial farms. The latest outbreak struck a facility that houses nearly 269,000 birds. In another commercial farm development, the virus struck a turkey farm in Virginia's Rockingham County that has 25,300 birds.
Elsewhere, more detections in backyard birds were reported from California, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Since the H5N1 outbreaks began in US poultry in February 2022, poultry losses have reached a record 58.16 million.
Avian flu in Russian seal die-off
In a new development regarding avian flu detections in mammals, scientists from Russia's Dagestan State University announced that tests have detected avian influenza in seals that were involved in a mass mortality event in December on the Caspian Sea coast near Dagestan, according to a statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog.
The statement didn't note the avian influenza subtype or say the virus caused the deaths. However, scientists note that there was a highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza last summer in wild birds on a nearby island where the seals live.
Since the outbreaks in poultry began, the Eurasian H5N1 clade impacting wild birds and poultry have infected several mammal species, raising concerns that the virus may more easily infect humans. So far, seven human cases have been reported, some mild, but some severe or fatal.