Posted April 24, 2015 5:09 PM ET; Last Updated May 28, 2015 8:31 PM ET
An outbreak of a particularly infectious version of the bird flu, believed to come initially from wild ducks and geese, has spread into 15 US states and two Canadian provinces, requiring the mass slaughter of egg-laying chickens and turkeys in particular.
That has turned into an 80 percent surge in the wholesale price of eggs, and a more modest hike in turkey meat costs, which could last for the rest of the year even if the flu outbreak can be successfully contained, according to industry officials.
The midwest state of Iowa, the largest US egg producer, has seen some 25 million birds, mostly chickens for egg production, killed.
ScienceMore: AFP Bird Flu Farming Agriculture
US farmers have been forced to kill nearly 40 million birds because of avian flu
PAUL HANDLEY, AFP
MAY 22, 2015, 9:03 PM
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Minnesota declared a state of emergency on Thursday over a fast-spreading strain of avian flu that has led to the extermination of more than 7.3 million birds in the country. It followed Wisconsin's action on Monday.
The highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of bird flu has been identified on 46 Minnesota farms in 16 counties and affected more than 2.6 million birds in the state.
State health officials said they were expediting prescriptions for the antiviral drug Tamiflu for farm workers and others who have been in direct contact with infected flocks. No human infections have been reported in this outbreak.
"There's no reason for anybody in the state of Minnesota to be concerned about their own health," Governor Mark Dayton said at a press conference on Thursday after declaring the state of emergency.
Federal and local public health authorities have said the risk of human infection is low.
Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:42pm EDT
Minnesota declares state of emergency over bird flu in poultry
BY P.J. HUFFSTUTTER