The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 141,800 birds in Sanpete County, Utah, and over 47,000 turkeys in Jerauld County, South Dakota, have been diagnosed with avian influenza which is deadly to commercial poultry. A few weeks after two turkey farms in South Dakota and Utah reported the first cases in the United States since April, the Iowa Department of Agriculture revealed the contaminated commercial poultry flocks, sparking fears that more might come. Over 500,000 birds from 12 commercial flocks in South Dakota, Utah, and Minnesota were impacted in October 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to USDA estimates, the bird flu outbreak last year killed roughly 58 million birds across 47 states, including egg-laying hens, turkeys, and chickens reared for meat, making it the worst outbreak in the nation's history. Consumer prices for eggs and turkey increased because of the epidemic, which cost the government more than $660 million.


Nearly 50 million birds in 15 states suffered from an outbreak in 2015 that was considered the costliest animal health disaster in American history, costing the government over $1 billion. Human cases of bird flu are comparatively uncommon and are not thought to pose a concern to food safety. However, when it affects other animals, such as some mammals, scientists worry that the virus may change to make human transmission easier. This week, Cambodia announced the third avian flu-related human fatality of the year.

Agriculture experts believe that the instances from this year are related to the epidemic from last year, which originated in Europe and traveled to the United States in February 2022. To reduce the possibility of spread, the United States has periodically placed limitations on the importation of chicken from Europe.