United States: A very communicable strain of bird flu has been infecting flocks of major egg producers across the United States. However, now it’s not just the chickens that are being infected; dairy cows and even people from Texas have been reported to have contracted the virus. 

After the contraction of the Type A H5N1 influenza virus spread widely, the major egg producers were being forced to kill millions of flocks to control the infection spread. 

This causes major financial loss to producers, which is further feared to cause an additional burden on families buying dairy and eggs-related products, whose costs are said to be impacted. 

Price rise is expected – Experts 

A professor of agricultural economics at Oklahoma State University, Amy Hagerman, said, “We would expect to see some increase in prices because you’re rapidly pulling a large number of potential eggs out of the market for the next 30 to 60 days,” as the Hills reported. 

Bird Flu Spreads to Cattle and Humans, Affects Prices and Supply Chains. Credit | Charlie Litchfield/AP
Bird Flu Spreads to Cattle and Humans, Affects Prices and Supply Chains. Credit | Charlie Litchfield/AP

As per the experts, during normal circumstances, egg prices fall following the easter holiday, during when the demand is high. However, Hagerman believes that this wouldn’t be the case this year. 

Also, the effect of egg prices has not been fully restored to normal after going through hiccups during the past two years. 

During the 2022 bird flu outbreak, almost ten percent (10%) of the country’s hens were knocked out, leading egg prices to skyrocket. 

According to federal data, presently, the mean price for twelve (a dozen) eggs is USD 2.99. This rate is higher than the prices held six months ago when the price of a carton ranged around USD 2. As per the reports, this price was much lower than the price of January 2023, when the price of a set of twelve (a dozen) cost USD 4.82 on average. 

Spread of disease in dairy cows 

According to the Hills, just three weeks ago, the news of spreading bird flu among cattle came to light after the dairy farmers of Texas began observing the dairy animals falling sick, which the officials term then as d “mystery dairy cow disease,” according to Sid Miller, the Commissioner of Texas Department of Agriculture. 

Post the spread of the news, production of milk fell drastically, as the cows reportedly were lethargic and weren’t eating much. 

Miller added, “We hadn’t seen anything like it before,” and, “It was kind of like they had a cold.” 

According to the expert, the virus potency appears to be less deadly in cattle than in poultry. Hagerman added, “If this virus gets into a poultry block, every animal is infected within a very short period of time. And we’re just not seeing that so far, or it’s not being reported by the cattle producers and by the veterinarians.” 

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