Bird flu can now be found all over the U.S. (Map)
Two new and particularly virulent forms of the avian flu virus are threatening to upset the domestic poultry industry’s egg cart.
As this Reuters graphic shows, while both Minnesota and Wisconsin have declared states of emergency over the H5N2 strain of the flu, Iowa has been the hardest hit. Far and away the country’s biggest egg producer with 58.5 million layers, the state on Monday announced that initial tests show an additional 6 million birds sickened. A confirmed positive result would bring the Iowa’s total number of cases to 9.5 million, and the national total to 15.1 million across 13 states.
In the month of March a total of 361 million U.S. hens produced 8.53 billion eggs. Although there is no food safety risk for humans and nobody has been infected, the outbreak is hitting the industry’s bottom line. Earlier this month, the U.S. cut export forecasts for the country’s $5.7 billion egg and poultry industry, owing to import bans imposed by Canada, Mexico, China and South Korea.