Avian influenza has been in the news quite a bit over the last year, including around Wisconsin. While much of this coverage has focused on the farms that saw outbreaks and its effects on consumers' pocketbooks, comparatively little attention has been given to the costs experienced by other poultry enterprises.
The 2015 avian influenza epidemic was the largest in U.S. history, affecting more than 48 million domestic poultry birds in 15 states between December 2014 and June 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Avian influenzas, including the highly pathogenic varieties, can infect birds both wild and domesticated. Birds carrying the virus can pass it on to other birds through airborne contact, as it is found in respiratory secretions and saliva.