Apr 7, 2022
Bird flu is sweeping across the US. Farmers have been forced to kill millions of chickens and turkeys. Zoos are taking extreme measures to protect endangered species.
Roughly 23 million birds are dead. Most of them were killed by poultry farmers to stop the spread. US officials call it the worst outbreak of bird flu in seven years. A 2015 bird flu outbreak left 50 million birds dead. So far, the virus has struck 24 states.
The health risks to humans are very low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No cases have been reported in humans. The US Department of Agriculture, though, stated: “Anyone involved with poultry production ... should review their ... activities to assure the health of their birds.”
That means keeping away visitors or cars that haven’t been properly disinfected from the birds. People should wear disposable footwear around their cages. Other animals should also be kept away.
Zookeepers are taking different precautions. They're moving birds inside and out of sight to the public. Workers at the Toronto Zoo, which is home to endangered Loggerhead shrikes, built roofs above outdoor exhibits. They constantly check the cages to make sure wild birds haven't gotten in.
Photo from USFWS Mountain-Prairie courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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