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Turkeys more susceptible to avian influenza than chickens

An epidemiologist says turkeys are more susceptible to contracting avian influenza than chickens.

And Dr. Meghan Schaeffer, co-author of the Zoonotic Influenza Guide, tells Brownfield researchers aren’t sure why.

“Chickens can spread it readily (and) yes, they can acquire infection readily. But for turkeys, not only is it very easy for them to acquire infection, but it’s easier for them to spread it. And it’s more lethal for turkeys as well.”

She says the impact of more avian flu cases during fall migration could be felt around the dinner table this Thanksgiving.

“It’s early in the bird migratory season and we’re already seeing flocks affected. They’re primarily turkeys, and we’re already into the hundreds of thousands of turkey flocks that are being affected. So there might be a price increase that we experience before Thanksgiving.”

Schaeffer says high-path avian flu has already been detected in some of the top turkey-producing states, including Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa.

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