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USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
While many in the poultry industry have defended their existing biosecurity practices in the wake of the epidemic, many also say it has highlighted some crucial weaknesses. Most of them have to do with the opportunities humans unwittingly create for the virus to spread from farm to farm.
Eggs
American consumers have experienced the 2015 avian influenza epidemic primarily in the form of higher egg prices. Average consumer egg prices went up as much as 25 percent between July 2014 and July 2015, according to the Consumer Price Index.
Behold, turkeys
Wisconsin has a moderately large poultry industry, though it is much smaller than in the neighboring states of Iowa and Minnesota. Overall, there were more than 19,900 flocks in Wisconsin as of September 2015, as registered by the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium.
farm truck decontamination
The avian influenza epidemic of 2015 required a cooperative effort between state and federal agricultural officials and the poultry industry. Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection worked with affected farms to confirm the presence of H5N2 and drew on its own expertise and personnel, as well as those of federal agencies and ag-industry partners to coordinate a response.
Turkeys
Government agencies offer a suite of biosecurity recommendations about avian influenza for both commercial poultry operations and people who keep backyard flocks, as well as settings like fairs, trade shows and other agricultural exhibitions.
Flock of ducks
Wild birds, particularly migratory waterfowl, can contract and transmit both low and highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages hunters and other persons engaging in outdoor recreation to help track the avian flu.
avian flu testing
A standard protocol of biosecurity practices is recommended for poultry growing operations, from small backyard flocks to those that raise tens or hundreds of thousands of birds. These precautions are intended to prevent and limit the spread of the avian influenza virus.
Backyard chickens
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.
Influenza A virus
Influenza is an infectious disease that can be transmitted between and among numerous species of animals, including humans and other mammals, and wild and domesticated birds.
Visualization by Scott Gordon. Data source: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
Avian influenza struck more than 1.9 million chickens, turkeys and mixed-breed fowl across four Wisconsin counties between April and May 2015.