How is the Bird Influenza affecting Humans?


Cate Latini, Creative Director

Across 47 states, 56 million chickens have been infected by the avian influenza virus; causing the largest bird influenza outbreak in history. The white house is debating measures like vaccinating the poultry to prevent other infections for birds and effects on humans. What effects would a bird flu have on people? 

The first cases of the avian flu was first reported in China in 2021. According to the CDC, the disease is spread through the bird’s saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. It could also be spread through a bird coming in contact with surfaces where a contaminated bird once was. More than 100 different species of bird have been known to be affected. 

Chickens, the bird that provides humans with eggs, meat and other resources, have been most affected by the influenza. According to Bill Chapel from NPR, around 52.7 million chickens have died in the U.S alone. As a result, the production of eggs and meat has slowed down. 

“A decrease in eggs has led to the increase in price in supermarkets,” Mr Trebach, a business teacher at Harrison High School stated. “Prices of eggs have already significantly increased because of inflation; but with the Bird Flu the price increased more with fewer birds to meet the demand for eggs.”

According to Make It, the price of eggs increased by 70.1% over the last year. For a box of 120 eggs, you used to pay only $40. Now, a box of 120 eggs costs over $100. Over the past year some prices of eggs nearly tripled in some states. 

Not only is the influenza a reason for egg price increasing but also the price of chicken food is increasing. All of these factors play a role in why prices of eggs for California for example have increased from $2.35 to $7.37 in a year. 

There have been only two known cases of the bird influenza in humans. According to the New York Times, an 11-year old girl and her father in Cambodia have tested positive for the H5N1 virus and resulted in the death of the girl. There has been no evidence of skin to skin contact that has spread the virus. The government claimed it was spread from the poultry in their village. 

Since COVID-19, the world is scared of another disease that might lead to world wide lockdown. Although there have been two cases in the world of the avian influenza, there have been no known cases in the U.S. Currently,  a lack of poultry and an increase in egg prices are the biggest effects of avian influenza and there should be no worry about catching the disease. 


Photo from Smithsonian Magazine