Bird Flu Continues to Spread, Avian Influenza Outbreak in Long Island, New York

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man participates in a kapparot ritual, in which a chicken is swung over one's head in the belief that one transfers the sins from the past year into the chicken. PHOTO: Times of Israel/Dima Vazinovich/Flash90

By Bruce Y. Lee | 20 February 2022

FORBES — Farmers and other bird owners in the U.S. have been dealing with a fowl problem: the continuing spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Over the past month, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has already confirmed the detection of HPAI in multiple locations across several different states, most recently in a backyard flock in Suffolk County, New York. This clearly isn’t an eggs-ellent situation for any winged friends that you may have and could result in higher poultry and egg prices. But it doesn’t mean that you or any of your non-winged friends should panic.

Clearly, anything dubbed “highly pathogenic” would be worse than something that’s merely “sort of pathogenic” or “highly not a problem at all.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “pathogenic” means “causing or capable of causing disease.” So, for example, if your date finds you “highly pathogenic,” don’t expect a second date. Similarly, putting the words together, “highly pathogenic avian influenza” would be a bird flu virus that’s highly capable of causing disease. Such viruses do have the potential of jumping to humans. However, so far, the HPAI that’s been spreading in the U.S. has been exclusively a chick-flick and a turkey-flick and other bird-flick. Apparently, it hasn’t infected any humans.

The new New York appearance of HPAI is the latest in an “oh cluck” saga that’s been going on throughout this Winter. Back in November 2021, I covered for Forbes various avian influenza outbreaks that were occurring in Europe and Asia. This led to some more drastic measures such as culling and poultry lock downs. Of course, as seen with other infectious diseases, what happens in other countries doesn’t necessarily stay in other countries. With many birds making trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights, it wouldn’t be too difficult for Europe and Asia to give the U.S. the bird, the bird flu that is. […]

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