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Cal-Maine reports bird flu in chickens at Texas plant, forcing temporary closure

The largest raw egg producer in the United States has temporarily closed one of its facilities in Texas after highly pathogenic avian influenza, also known as H5N1 avian influenza, killed nearly 2 million birds. announced.

Calmaine Foods said one of its facilities in Palmer County had “tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, representing approximately 3.6% of the company’s total flock as of March 2. “The population of about 1.6 million egg-laying hens and 337,000 young hens has declined.” , 2024.

“Production at the facility has been temporarily suspended as we follow procedures established by the Department of Agriculture,” the report continued, adding, “Production at the facility has been temporarily suspended. “There is no risk and no eggs have been recovered.”

This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday that a person in Texas has tested positive for bird flu.

Rare human case of highly contagious bird flu confirmed in Texas

A rooster roams a farm in Austin, Texas, on January 23, 2023. Calmaine Foods, the nation’s largest raw egg producer, announced it has temporarily closed its plant in Palmer County following an outbreak of bird flu. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

“This individual had contact with dairy cows in Texas and is presumed to be infected with the HPAI A(H5N1) virus. The patient reported red eyes (consistent with conjunctivitis) as the only symptom. He is recovering,” the CDC said in a statement. “The patient has been told to isolate and is being treated with antiviral drugs for influenza.”

ticker safety last change change %
Calm Calmain Foods Co., Ltd. 60.92 +2.01 +3.41%

According to the CDC, this is the second case in the United States where a person has tested positive for H5N1, following an outbreak in Colorado in 2022.

Egg prices remain higher than usual

bird flu and eggs

This illustration shows a test tube and an egg labeled “Bird Flu.” (Dado Luvitch/Reuters Photo)

“This infection does not change the human health risk assessment of H5N1 avian influenza to the general U.S. population, which CDC considers to be low,” it added. “However, people who have unprotected close or long-term exposure to infected birds or other animals (including livestock) or environments contaminated by infected birds or other animals are at greater risk of infection. Masu.”

Last week, dairy cows in Texas and Kansas were reported to have been infected with avian influenza, according to the Associated Press.

grocery store eggs

A worker stocks eggs on a grocery store shelf in January 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. Calmaine Foods is the largest raw egg producer in the United States. (Matthew Hatcher/via Bloomberg/Getty Images)

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Meanwhile, Calmaine Foods is “working to secure production from other facilities to minimize disruption to our customers” and “to reduce the risk of future outbreaks, we are working with federal, “We are working closely with state and local officials and key industry organizations.” Manage the response effectively. ”

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