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Highly pathogenic avian influenza continues to spread in Missouri

A rooster and hens
klimkin
/
Pixabay
A rooster and hens

A total of 478,820 birds have been affected in the state so far.

The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A (H5N1) continues to infect domesticated birds in Missouri and across the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so far eight commercial flocks have been affected and eight backyard flocks have been impacted by the virus. The total number of birds affected in Missouri to date is 478,820. That includes commercial turkey, domesticated waterfowl and chickens.

"It's not concentrated necessarily in one area. It's across the state, so it's important that we continue to stay vigilant as this virus has not left with the birds that are migrating to the south," said
Christi Miller, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

She said anyone with backyard chickens, geese and ducks should keep them away from wild waterfowl.

"Don't let them co-mingle," said Miller. "Don't let them drink at the same stream the same pond, the same creek, Keep them away from the same food sources."

She urged those with domesticated chickens, geese, ducks or turkeys to keep them contained during this time of virus spread.

The virus appears to spread through droppings, so she suggested having shoes that are worn only in a coop and nowhere else. If you share farm equipment, disinfect it between uses. And watch for sickness, a quieter than usual flock and a higher than usual mortality rate.

If you suspect HPAI, contact your veterinarian or the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Miller said, compared to previous avian influenza outbreaks, this one has had a much greater impact.

HPAI has impacted 47 states so far, including 301 commercial flocks and 401 backyard flocks.

While it has spread to humans, the risk remains low. “Human infections with bird flu viruses have occurred most often after unprotected contact with infected birds or surfaces contaminated with bird flu viruses,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said monitoring for human infection and person-to-person spread is “extremely important for public health” because of the possibility that bird flu viruses could change and gain the ability to spread easily between people.

Christi Miller said the food supply is safe and that you should not stop buying egg, meat and poultry products.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.