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US Avian Flu Poultry Losses Soar Past 2015 Record

Six states reported more highly pathogenic avian flu outbreaks in poultry flocks over the past few days, including three that reported large losses in commercial poultry, according to updates from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Last week, the mounting poultry losses matched the record of 50.5 million set during multistate outbreaks in 2015. Outbreaks reported over the past few days boosted the national total for the year to 52.5 million from 46 states.

In one of the newly reported outbreaks, the virus struck a large layer farm in Nebraska's Dixon County that houses 1.7 million birds. Also, South Dakota reported four more outbreaks from commercial turkey farms in three counties (Beadle, Spink, and Faulk) which taken together had more than 222,000 birds. Also, Minnesota reported another outbreak at a turkey farm, this time at a facility in Todd County that had 44,500 birds.

Four states reported more outbreaks in backyard flocks, including Alaska, South Dakota, Florida, and Oregon.

First high-path outbreak in Ecuador

In international developments, Ecuador reported its first highly pathogenic avian flu outbreak in poultry, likely part of a recent incursion of the Eurasian H5N1 strain into South America. The virus is awaiting full subtyping.

The outbreak occurred at a layer farm near the city of Latacunga in north-central Ecuador that had experienced unusual morality, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). The virus killed 49,900 of 180,100 birds.

The development comes in the wake of recent H5N1 detections in South American birds, including events in Peru and Colombia.

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