The Department of Agriculture published the latest statistics on wild aquatic birds, commercial poultry, and backyard flocks Thursday. Its latest report, which includes 46 affected states, beats the previous record from 2015 of 50.4 million deaths. In 2015, wild birds contributed to about 30% of cases, compared to 85% this year, the USDA told Reuters.
The epidemic has resulted in an increase of 8% in the consumer price index of poultry and eggs from last year and a 0.6% increase from the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Over 70% of the affected commercial poultry farms were turkey farms, according to the USDA. This led to Thanksgiving turkey costs increasing by 21% this year versus last, according to the Farm Bureau.
The first U.S. case of bird flu was reported in a Colorado man in April. Three other cases followed. Another man in the United Kingdom contracted the virus as the first ever human in December 2021, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s classification of the influenza as “low risk” in humans.