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How To Prevent Bird Flu Outbreaks From Devastating Dairy Industry?

An outbreak of bird flu in India in 2008 prompted authorities to temporarily ban the sale of poultry.
Diptendu Dutta
/
AFP/Getty Images
An outbreak of bird flu in India in 2008 prompted authorities to temporarily ban the sale of poultry.

As the U.S. dairy industry confronts an outbreak of bird flu, the egg industry serves as an example of how to slow the spread of the disease but also how difficult it can be to completely eradicate the problem. In the decade since the first major bird flu outbreak, the disease has forced the slaughter of nearly 100 million chickens and turkeys. Outbreaks still occur, but their frequency has dropped dramatically since peaks several years ago in large part because of biosecurity efforts at farms and a coordinated approach between companies and agricultural officials. Some of those efforts can be repeated with dairy cows, but there are vast differences between the industries that limit what lessons can be learned.