Update on the Highly-Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreak of 2014-2015 [July 20, 2015] [open pdf - 670KB]
"The U.S. poultry industry is experiencing a severe outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has reported 223 cases of HPAI in domestic flocks in 15 states. With the start of summer, the finding of new cases slowed. The last reported new case was in Iowa on June 17, 2015. More than 48 million chickens, turkeys, and other poultry have been euthanized to stem the spread of the disease. Cases have been caused by several highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza (AI) strains that result in substantial mortality in domestic poultry. Turkey and egg-laying hen farms in Minnesota and Iowa have been hardest hit. Commercial broiler farms have not been affected to date. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no infections in humans have been associated with the HPAI outbreak, and the public health risk is low. […] It is believed that an HPAI outbreak is likely to occur again in the fall when wild birds begin their migrations through the four flyways. This may result in more spread of AI, possibly in the poultry-producing eastern and southeastern regions untouched by the current outbreak. APHIS and the poultry industry are taking lessons from the current outbreak to prepare for the fall. USDA is developing a vaccine to be available for manufacture if the agency decides to adopt a vaccination policy to manage any future outbreak. APHIS and the poultry industry are reassessing biosecurity, indemnity payment formulas, and other measures that aim to improve the containment and elimination process."
CRS Report for Congress, R44114