Poultry losses mount with more avian flu at US farms

layer farm


Over the past week, highly pathogenic avian flu outbreaks struck poultry flocks in 12 states, hitting seven more commercial farms, including one in California that houses more than 1.3 million layers, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said in its latest updates.

Detections of the H5N1 virus started ramping up in early October, with the events exacting an especially high toll on layer facilities and turkey farms in multiple parts of the country.  Last month, outbreaks led to the loss of more than 8 million birds, and so far this month poultry owners have lost more than 7.2 million birds.

Since the outbreaks began in early 2022, poultry outbreaks across 47 states have wiped out a record 75.4 million birds, according to APHIS.

Layer and turkey farms continue to feel brunt

In the most recent outbreaks, California is the latest state to report an event at a large layer farm, which occurred in Merced County.  Outbreaks also struck a broiler producer in Merced County and a duck breeding operation in San Joaquin County.

Two other states reported new outbreaks involving layer farms—a location in Kansas' Rice County that houses 700,000 birds and a site in Ohio's Darke County that has 560,000 birds.

Minnesota and South Dakota reported more outbreaks on turkey farms, and New York reported an outbreak at a game bird producer that has 4,200 birds.

Also, seven states reported more detections in backyard flocks, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Minnesota, and Oregon.

More outbreaks in Asia and Europe

Meanwhile, over the past week, several countries have reported fresh H5N1 outbreaks in wild birds and poultry, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). Germany, China, and Moldova reported detections involving wild birds.

Among locations reporting outbreaks at commercial farms, Taiwan reported a detection of the clade—currently circulating widely across multiple parts of the globe—at a layer farm. The virus also struck more facilities in Germany and Hungary.

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