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The avian influenza outbreak is killing millions of birds

A rooster is held in a cage on a farm in Austin, Texas.
A rooster is held in a cage on a farm in Austin, Texas.

As humans grappled with the effects of COVID-19, another virus was decimating bird populations around the world.

It’s called H5N1, and it’s a strain of the bird flu.

Scientists estimate that it’s killed hundreds of millions of birds globally, both wild birds and those on commercial farms.

More recently, it’s begun to infect mammals. That includes grizzly bears, sea lions, and a host of other species.

And while the risk for human infection and mortality from the bird flu remains low, some scientists are concerned that this virus could potentially mutate and cause another pandemic.

What do scientists know about the bird flu? And how can we better understand the risks it poses to humans?

We’ve assembled a panel of experts to answer your questions.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Lauren Hamilton