Enigmatic bird flu strain races across the U.S. Midwest

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Science  15 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6236, pp. 741-742
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6236.741

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As a third U.S. state declared a state of emergency, scientists are scrambling to understand the H5N2 avian influenza virus that is ravaging poultry farms across the Midwest. At least 30 million birds in 12 states have been affected so far, either infected directly or scheduled to be culled, in the largest outbreak of a high-pathogenicity avian flu virus in the United States in decades. The new strain, which emerged in wild birds along the Pacific flyway several months ago, has not yet infected any humans, but researchers are puzzled by its path of transmission and other characteristics. An ambitious case-control study about to be launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the University of Minnesota, and the turkey industry may help answer these questions.

  • * in Minneapolis, Minnesota

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