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How the rise in Bird Flu cases is affecting Western New York

US Bird Flu
Posted at 7:32 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 19:32:06-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Cases of Highly Pathogenic Aviation Influenza, better known as Bird Flu, are rising across the country. The CDC said there are cases of Bird Flu in wild birds in 31 states, and 29 states have poultry outbreaks. The CDC said about 29 million birds are affected.

"It's kind of like the flu for us, but for avians," Amy Barkley, a livestock specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension, said.

While widespread issues with Bird Flu can affect your wallet at the grocery store, they won't affect your health.

"In terms of its effect on poultry products, it doesn't have any health consequence. Any birds that it are affected, it does not go into the human food chain. Their meat or eggs does not go into the human food chain," Barkley said.

While there is no evidence of Bird Flu at the Buffalo Zoo, they are taking extra precautions.

"We have closed all of our outdoor exhibits, and we have moved those birds inside. Our eagle exhibit is empty because those birds are behind the scenes in indoor enclosures. Same thing with our vultures and some of our other aviaries. We've also closed our rain forest exhibit," Lisa Smith, the Chief Zoological Officer at the Buffalo Zoo, said.

It's unclear how long those birds will be hanging out behind the scenes.

"When this type of bird flu came in 2014 and 2015, it did go away in the summer time when it got hot and after birds were done migrating. We're not sure we'll see the same pattern this time, but we're very hopeful that it will die down once we have the migration of wild birds stop," Smith said.

Cattaraugus County has canceled bird exhibits at the fair. Other fails have yet to make any changes.

"At this point, we want to prevent any congregation of birds that isn't necessary," Barkley said.

Experts are hoping this can be re-evaluated in about a month.

"Right now, there is a ban on poultry fairs and shows, but that is going to be reevaluated by Commissioner Ball at the New York State Ag and Markets at the end of May," Barkley said.