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Officials want South Carolina farmers to be aware of avian flu

A strain of bird flu that’s very contagious and deadly among chickens is spreading in some U.S. poultry flocks.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — State officials say they are working to raise awareness about avian influenza, or avian flu, amongst South Carolina farmers. 

A strain of bird flu that’s very contagious and deadly among chickens is spreading in some U.S. poultry flocks. It’s called highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1).

RELATED: Yes, a strain of bird flu is spreading in the US but infections in humans are rare

South Carolina State Veterinarian and director of Clemson University Livestock-Poultry Health Michael Neault said want farmers to know what do to help stop the spread.

Neault and Julie Helm, poultry veterinarian say they want to make sure poultry farmers are aware of the avian variant spreading in wild birds. 

"We encourage people to use biosecurity, so separate their poultry from the wild ducks and geese that are carrying these viruses."

RELATED: South Carolina prohibits importation of some birds due to avian flu

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Posted by Clemson Livestock Poultry Health on Saturday, April 23, 2022

Helm says where people are going to feel it most is in their pockets in the store.

"It's affected egg prices currently because those states and millions of birds that have been infected are table egg layers," Helm said. "They got infected and were dying from the disease and had to be depopulated, so you can see now in the stores, egg prices have increased." 

As for humans, Neault says the risk of getting sick is low. 

"The risk for people is low to get this," Neault said. "From what we've seen from this one, it's extremely low risk." 

RELATED: North Carolina sees thousands of cases of avian flu in poultry, wild birds