New bird flu outbreak plaguing American birds leaves 24million already dead – and it may be here to stay

A NEW bird flu outbreak is making its way through wild bird populations in the United States and has already left 24million dead.

Poultry farmers have been doing their best to control this flu outbreak in their flocks.

About 24million poultry birds, such as chickens and turkeys, have already been lost either because they died from the virus or were killed to prevent its spread, NPR reported.

Experts warn that this new outbreak may be here to stay unlike a similar one seven years ago.

This virus seems to be capable of surviving in populations of wild birds which can pass on to poultry farms.

Chickens and turkeys seem to become sick quickly and die from the virus while waterfowl can stay healthy and carry it, according to the outlet.

Scientists believe that wild migrating birds brought this virus to North America a few months ago, and now more than 40 wild bird species in more have tested positive across 30 states.

This strain of bird flu virus has been detected in crows, pelicans, and bald eagles.

As the virus moves across the country and settles in the population, it will encounter new animal species that could get infected, NRP reported.

"Wild migratory waterfowl are always flying over the top and when they poop, that poop gets on the ground," Denise Heard, director of research programs for the US Poultry & Egg Association, told NPR.

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The virus can get tracked into birdhouses on boots or moved across farms by vehicle.

Fortunately, the risk for humans seems low.

The only person known to have contracted the virus was an elderly person in the United Kingdom who lived in close quarters with ducks.

Some of the ducks got sick and died, but their owner never had symptoms.

But bird flu viruses have transferred into people in the past, and public health experts are watching out for genetic changes that could lead humans to be susceptible.

"We're concerned with any avian influenza virus that's circulating in domestic poultry or wild birds," Todd Davis, an expert on animal-to-human diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told NPR. "Because humans have no prior immunity to these viruses typically, if they were to be infected and spread the virus to other humans, then we could have another pandemic virus on our hands."

More than 500 people in 25 states who were exposed to infected birds are being monitored by the CDC.

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In Europe, farmers have had to cull more than 17 million birds.

In Israel, 8,000 birds were lost in an area where about 40,000 common cranes had gathered for winter.

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