The US is facing one of the largest Avian Influenza (AI) outbreaks in its history. Since the start of the outbreak in February 2022, more than 58 million birds from commercial and backyard flocks have been killed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), already surpassing the last major outbreak of AI in 2015, which killed roughly 50 million birds over a six-month period.
AI (bird flu) is an animal disease caused by an influenza virus that primarily targets poultry. However, it is also infectious for other animals and humans. The type of AI that carries the greatest lethality is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), which is the virus that is currently spreading in the US, according to multiple experts.
Avian Influenza has not only impacted poultry meat production, but it has also reduced egg production significantly throughout the year. According to the CDC, more than 40 million egg-laying hens have been culled in the US alone, causing the price of eggs nationwide to skyrocket 222% compared to the year prior. According to market sources, the outbreak is likely to continue to challenge the poultry and egg industries into Q2 2023.