"A major disease outbreak is affecting the U.S. poultry industry. As of May 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported 168 cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in 15 states, resulting in the infection of nearly 36.9 million turkeys, chickens (egg-laying hens), and other poultry. The vast majority of the outbreaks have been caused by HPAI strains known as the H5N2 and H5N8 strains, which are both virulent and deadly for domestic poultry. No commercial broiler operations have been infected. According to the Center for Disease Control, no infections in humans have been associated with the ongoing HPAI outbreaks. HPAI outbreaks in the United States previously occurred in 1924, 1983, and 2004. The current outbreak is the largest to date. The 1924 and 2004 outbreaks were small and quickly contained. The outbreak in 1983 resulted in 17 million birds being euthanized in the U.S. northeast. Outbreaks of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) are more frequent, but result in minor illness in poultry. LPAI outbreaks are quickly contained and eradicated because some strains are potentially able to mutate into the more severe HPAI."
CRS Insight, IN10279
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html