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December 1, 2015

Deadly bird flu is hiding this fall, but experts plan for its return

A mysterious avian influenza virus that killed more than 42 million chickens and 7.5 million turkeys last spring in the United States is once again baffling experts who were predicting it would return this fall and create even more havoc for the poultry industry. The H5N2 virus hasn’t been found in any commercial or backyard flocks since June, and wildlife specialists have found it just once – in a duck in Utah on July 31 – while testing more than 22,500 ducks across the country since the beginning of July, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But that doesn’t mean the highly contagious virus won’t show up somewhere over the next few weeks as temperatures drop around the freezing mark, where it thrives, said Ron Kean, a UW-Extension poultry specialist.  Read More

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