Don't freak out, but one of the worst U.S. bird flu outbreaks in recent history may have hit Arizona.
According to the state's Department of Agriculture, four properties were shut down over bird flu fears in Pinal, Mohave, Santa Cruz and Yavapai Counties. In all, 13 quail and chickens, and about 40 quail and partridge eggs came from an affected facility in Iowa.
The facility that sent the possibly-bad poultry to Arizona was originally unaffected by the ongoing outbreak, says Dr. Perry Durham, Arizona's State Veterinarian. But sick birds confirmed to have bird flu were discovered a week ago and investigators then tracked some shipments back to Arizona. The state's Department of Agriculture has not confirmed any sick birds or eggs, but all are being tested and quarantined.
So does this mean you should skip the omelette at tomorrow's breakfast? Probably not. The Arizona Department of Agriculture says the human risk of getting the infection is low, and it's "safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry products, including meat and eggs."
Just maybe avoid hanging out with live poultry.
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"This has really nothing to do with the eggs that you eat," Dr. Durham says. In fact, some of the animals and eggs being tested for the flu in Arizona were shipped to people who wanted the birds as pets in "suburban dwellings" and even "retirement communities." Collecting eggs to raise birds as pets is a pretty popular hobby.
Dr. Durham also noted the strain of bird flu — H5N8. To his knowledge, no human's gotten sick from this particular strain.
In Iowa, more than 47 million chickens and turkeys are dead because of the Avian Flu (not all were confirmed to have it, but were killed in an effort to stop the spread), according to Reuters. The crisis already affected egg prices, which jumped spectacularly in May.