3 Things to Know About the 2022 Bird Flu Outbreak

A record-breaking development of avian flu cases swept poultry farms across Canada and the United States this fall, killing dozens of millions of birds in an unprecedented duration and intensity. The 2022 outbreak of this H5N1 strain has lasted longer than most bird flu flare-ups; some experts say that this outbreak might make avian flu significantly more commonplace for North American birds in the future. The strain has affected both farmed and wild birds alike and has some notable negative effects for humans, too.

1. Avian influenza is not currently an urgent threat to humans.

The strain of avian flu currently sweeping across birds has not yet posed a serious problem of human infections. There have been four reported cases of bird flu among humans in 2022, with two of the cases being reported in Spain, one in the United Kingdom, and one in the United States. The strain presently is understudied in humans, given its novelty, but if it were to mutate and become capable of swiftly transmitting from person-to-person contact, it would be able to do so via an airborne transmission, which is how it spreads across birds. Thus, it would be similar to Covid-19 in how hand-washing alone isn’t sufficient for prevention of human-to-human contact, but mask-wearing and other, more intense, preventative measures would be necessary to shield from droplets containing avian influenza.

2. You might see the effects of this outbreak in the price of your grocery bill.

Food Safety News reported that the outbreak of avian influenza is impacting the price of chicken and eggs in a manner that’s disproportionate to the already existing inflation that might be driving up the price of your grocery bill. The World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) reported that poultry losses are close to 70% above last year’s pace, but that because demand for chicken and egg products has not decreased, the price of products has risen significantly in the US and Canada. WOAH reported in September that 138 million+ birds perished from the H5N1 strain, which was more than the past five years combined.

3. Bird Flu outbreaks are preventable with proper sanitation and preventative measures.

While the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) reported that vaccine trials for this case of avian influenza are currently underway, the rollout will likely take a matter of years, not months. In the meantime, poultry directors can implement some proactive measures to combat the spread of avian influenza and other viruses among their flocks. One preventative measure that is particularly helpful for preventing the spread of influenza and other viruses is chlorine dioxide. The solution is made up of only oxygen and chlorine, yet has been proven effective in killing bird flu viruses. PureLine is home to chlorine dioxide experts with significant experience in applying the compound, typically through a gaseous treatment process, in poultry factories across America. To find out how PureLine can help keep your flock safe as the avian influenza outbreak continues to devastate birds across the continent, fill out the form below and a representative will be in touch.