Bird flu crisis hits Sonoma County: 250K poultry euthanized, egg prices soar

Avian flu crisis hits Sonoma County | Credits: Getty Images
Avian flu crisis hits Sonoma County | Credits: Getty Images

United States: Sonoma County of the United States has been witnessing a rapid increase in the bird flu, and to avoid the spread of the disease, as many as 250,000 poultry have been humanly killed. Reportedly, euthanasia has resulted in an increase in egg prices across the region.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the disease has affected various facilities in California, including the Sonoma County farms. Several reports have outlined that Farms has been an egg layer and duck breeder and has lost more than 82,500 and 169,300 birds, respectively, in late November.

In addition to this, duck breeders in San Benito and Fresno have lost around 28,400 birds collectively – during the same time period.

Birds in poultry | Credits: Getty Images

As per the reports by the Associated Press, the agency further shared that a turkey farm in Merced County lost around 31,600 birds in late October.

Remarks by one of the owners of Farms

According to the reports by local media house KTVU, co-owner of Petaluma-based Sunrise Farms – Mike Weber expressed, “It’s just been devastating for us, nothing but devastating.”

Weber further said, “They lost their entire operation, 170,000 ducks, and those ducks are coveted across the state.”

In addition to this, a similar report by The Press Democrat stated that only two facilities, including Sunrise Farms and Reichardt Duck Farm, have been explored for the disease.

Migrating Waterfowl can be the major cause of disease spread: California Food & Agriculture Department

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the disease is very contagious, even fatal for birds; however, no risk has been posed to human health. The department further underscored that the virus can be majorly spread by migrating Waterfowl.

Birds killed in 2023

It is to be noted that the official data suggested that the number of birds that died due to flu witnessed a downward trend in November 2022 compared to November 2023. According to the stats shared by the Associated Press, the count decreased to 4.6 million birds from 58 million in 2022 – the first-ever year of the outbreak.

The experts have suggested that despite the declining numbers, the infection is a concern as the virus was able to survive the hot summer season.

Vaccination against Bird Flu

Visual Representation of vaccine | Credits: Shutterstock

Medical experts have developed a bird flu vaccine while anticipating its use in the future. However, for now, the use of the same seems impractical as the Export markets will not accept the vaccinated birds.