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Bird flu outbreak waning but threat of virus lingers

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File: A truck drives out the entrance of the Cold Springs Eggs Farm where the presence of avian influenza was reported to be discovered, forcing the commercial egg producer to destroy nearly 3 million chickens on March 24, 2022 near Palmyra, Wisconsi OMAHA, Neb. - A bird flu outbreak in the U.S.

that led to the deaths of more than 40 million chickens and turkeys and contributed to a spike in egg and meat prices appears to be waning, but experts caution the virus hasn’t disappeared and worry another surge could take hold this fall.The number of birds culled to limit its spread dropped from a peak of almost 21 million in March to less than 800,000 in May.

However, more than 2 million birds have been killed already this month after infections were discovered at two large farms in Colorado."The numbers in the dashboard do tell a story, but we are not ready to say the outbreak is winding down," said Richard Coker, a spokesman for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service division of the Department of Agriculture. "We remain vigilant and encourage producers to continue to practice strong biosecurity."Some state and industry officials are optimistic that the outbreak is ending, although no one is quite ready to relax.Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said the virus still poses a risk because more cases are being reported, but that "it really does feel like we’re on the tail end of it for this year."When a case of the highly pathogenic virus is found, officials kill the entire flock to limit its spread.

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