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A recent study published in the journal Conservation Biology emphasizes the need for a coordinated response to the latest highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) outbreak, commonly known as bird flu, among wild and farmed birds. The University of Maryland research team has been tracking the virus’s spread, noting its impact on wild birds and a shift from seasonal to year-round infections. They predict that H5N1 will likely become endemic, posing risks to food security and the economy.
Source: Science X/Youtube
Jennifer Mullinax, a co-author of the study, highlights the unprecedented nature of this outbreak and calls for a unified approach from federal and state agencies, the agriculture sector, and wildlife management. The research is based on an analysis of data sources that provide information on the incidence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds and chicken farming in the US and Canada, as well as a global database from 2014 through early 2023.
As of October 2022, the disease had resulted in 31 reported wild bird mass mortalities, accounting for approximately 33,504 wild bird detections in the US and Canada. Additionally, over 58 million farmed chickens were infected or culled to limit the spread of infection in the US, and 7 million in Canada.
Unlike previous avian influenza outbreaks, H5N1 is heavily impacting wild birds, making it harder to contain. The study also reveals a shift from seasonal to year-round disease, with summertime detections in wild birds and outbreaks in farmed chickens occurring in both spring and fall.
As a potential solution, researchers are looking at alternatives to chicken farming, including plant-based egg substitutes. Several startups have been developing innovative products to address the issues associated with chicken farming. Examples include Eat Just’s pourable, mung bean-based Just Egg, Crafty Counter’s WunderEgg, and Yo! Egg’s vegan poached egg with a runny yolk.
These brands aim to create a future where eggs can be enjoyed without harm and without the volatility of the animal farming industry. By developing plant-based egg alternatives, we may be better prepared to tackle the challenges posed by deadly bird flu outbreaks and protect both human health and the environment.
- Bird Flu: A Look at the Risks of Avian Flu for People and Animals
- 10 Million Birds Slaughtered Due to Avian Flu Outbreak in Japan
- Over 700 Vultures Die in Sanctuary After Avian Flu Outbreak
- No Free-Range Eggs in UK Supermarkets Amid Biggest Avian Flu Outbreak
- Colorado Inmate Becomes First Case in U.S. Diagnosed with Avian Influenza Virus
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