Avian flu outbreak has so far claimed the lives of 50.54M birds in the U.S. this year, making it the nation’s worst on record, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The birds infected with the virus often die, resulting in entire flocks, which can sometimes exceed a million egg-laying birds at chicken farms, being killed to avoid further transmission.
The U.S. outbreak began in February and impacted poultry and non-poultry birds across 46 states, sending the depopulation figures above the 2015 level when 50.5M birds died.
The outbreak has also contributed to rising food inflation due to its impact on turkey and egg operations.
The infection caused by the virus highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) poses a low risk to humans. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people to avoid unprotected contact with birds that look sick or have died.