The avian influenza outbreak that has heavily hit the U.S. poultry industry in 2015 is likely to be under control within four months, said the director general of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to date has reported that more than 40.7 million birds have been affected by avian influenza. However, OIE Director General Bernard Vallat told Reuters that the infection rate is slowing down as the U.S. poultry industry steps up its efforts to contain and control the virus.

"I think it cannot worsen in the United States," Vallat said. "Given the scale of the damage and the pressure on farmers I believe they will quickly protect themselves more efficiently. There are huge economic stakes here."

Other animal health leaders have also predicted a slowdown and possible disappearance of the virus as the warmer weather arrives. During a USDA-hosted media call in April, USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford and USDA Southeast Poultry Research Director David Swayne said new cases of the virus would disappear because viruses tend to not survive well in warmer weather, and that the wild birds that have carried avian influenza will have returned to the North during their migrations. Both indicated that there is a possibility that the virus won’t return in the fall.

Bookmark WATTAgNet’s avian influenza page for the latest news and analysis concerning avian influenza in the United States and internationally.