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Avian flu outbreak wipes out record 50 million birds…

CHICAGO — Avian flu has wiped out 50.54 million birds in the United States this year, making it the country’s deadliest outbreak in history, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Thursday.The deaths of chickens, turkeys and other birds represent the worst U.S. animal-health disaster to date, topping the previous record of 50.5 million birds that died in an avian-flu outbreak in 2015.Birds often die after becoming infected. Entire flocks, which can top a million birds at egg-laying chicken farms, are also culled to control the spread of the disease after a bird tests positive.Losses of poultry flocks sent prices for eggs and turkey meat to record highs, worsening economic pain for consumers facing red-hot inflation and making Thursday’s Thanksgiving celebrations more expensive in the United States. Europe and Britain are also suffering their worst avian-flu crises, and some British supermarkets rationed customers’ egg purchases after the outbreak disrupted supplies.Bill Powers checks on his flock of white turkeys, which have been kept under shelter all year to prevent exposure to avian influenza.Nathan Howard / Getty ImagesThe U.S. outbreak, which began in February, infected flocks …

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