USDA identifies new bird flu cases in Pennsylvania, Utah

chicken farm
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New cases of bird flu have been detected in a commercial chicken flock in Pennsylvania and a backyard flock in Utah, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Saturday, in what is one of the worst outbreaks in the country's history.

Avian influenza has affected more than 24 million wild, commercial and backyard birds since mid-January and the virus is pushing the price of eggs and poultry higher. The price of processed eggs, used in liquid or powered form in everything from cake batter to chips, has soared to record highs and is adding to for a wide-range of food brands on top of existing inflationary pressure.

Farmers in the Midwest, where much of the nation's egg and poultry supply is located, have been hit particularly hard. The latest cases were found in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and in Utah County, Utah, the USDA said.

Infected animals, including chickens and turkeys, are often killed to prevent further spread of the virus. The USDA is investigating a new vaccine to fight the flu. Recent detections do not present an immediate public health concern to humans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 50 million chickens and turkeys died from the highly pathogenic virus or were depopulated during a previous outbreak between 2014 and 2015.

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