More than 20 million birds in the Midwestern states have died after being infected with H5N2 bird flu virus in the last five months. Researchers need to do more studies about the H5N2 bird flu virus that has devastated the poultry population, most especially the turkey and chicken in the United States.
Scientists from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) together with other federal agencies are still puzzled by how the H5N2 virus is still spreading in spite of increased biosecurity measures.
The biosecurity steps of poultry farms which are implemented include changing boots and clothes before entering barns, workers assignment to specific areas and disinfecting vehicles and equipment before they start working in the barns.
The current H5N2 virus was originally found in the US last December, coming from an infected wild bird on the West Coast, shortly after it was spotted in Canada last winter. The virus has destroyed several poultry productions in eight Midwest states, pressuring the owners to kill millions of turkeys and chickens.
Experts are discussing multiple theories on how the virus is still affecting the poultry population. Some researchers believed that animals like rats, other rodents or smaller birds spread the virus into the poultry farms. Other scientists believe flies are the major carrier, which were responsible for the avian influenza virus in Pennsylvania back in 1983 and also during the Japan epidemic of 2004. The chief veterinarian of USDA said last week that the wind, which blew dust and feathers that carried the H5N2 virus into buildings through air vents.
As poultry operations are seriously affected by the virus, USDA experts are still researching if the H5N2 virus was brought by a wild carrier and why this causes a chain reaction from farm to farm.
It still remains a mystery for scientists why infections have not been affecting backyard flocks. The USDA have been alerted by 12 cases from different states – Wisconsin, Montana, Oregon, Kansas, Minnesota, and in Idaho, and other 5 reports from Washington in the first two months of 2015. Some cases may have not been reported but the officials are currently offering incentives to commercial owners if they will report the situation to government agencies, and additional payment for each live bird with H5N2 which is killed.
The H5N2 virus has not spread to humans but scientists are already producing vaccines in case of a human outbreak.
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