An alleged record bird flu outbreak is prompting the White House to consider rolling out a mass bird flu vaccine . Over 60 million birds have been culled in the US and 200 million worldwide in the last year to prevent the spread of H5N1. This has increased the price of chickens and eggs since early 2022.
Bird Flu Fears
As the virus has already been detected in other mammals such as minks, sea lions, and foxes, there is concern that it could jump from mammals to humans if it acquires dangerous mutations. After an 11-year-old girl died of avian influenza in Cambodia and her father tested positive for the disease, fears about the bird flu outbreak reached a peak last month. However, H5N1 in both had an older clade not associated with the current outbreak, and they both appeared to have been infected by birds.
According to experts, the rollout may affect trade and even make determining which birds have been infected harder. Although a few shots are currently in development, the USDA did not disclose which ones it would use in testing. In the US, vaccinating domesticated birds could take years. Approximately 10 billion chickens are produced in America each year for meat only. The figure excludes turkeys and other domesticated birds and chickens produced for other purposes.
Cons Of Chicken Vaccine
A facility that houses over 5 million birds would need over two years to process them. The poultry industry has also opposed the introduction of a vaccine for the birds. There is a possibility that it will save some animals’ lives, but there is also a possibility that it will lead to potential problems. In addition to preventing infection symptoms, the vaccine may also hinder farmers’ ability to identify infected flocks.
Danger For This Strain On Humans?
A total of 900 cases of the H5N1 virus have ever been recorded in humans, nearly all through animal-to-human transmission. A person becomes infected with this virus when it gets into their mouths, noses, eyes, or open wounds due to bird droppings or saliva.
Time will tell if everyday consumers will want to eat poultry that has a type of vaccine injected into it.