Layer Hen Chicken under sunlight lampSince February of this year, nearly 38 million birds have died due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks across the country. However, the end of May brought some hope as USDA data showed the smallest loss of the year. As the virus spreads best in cold conditions, summer weather could continue to help mitigate the impact of the disease.

Last week, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an additional $400 million in funding for animal health protection, doubling the funds available for fighting the virus and indemnifying owners of impacted flocks. USDA tallies 780,000 birds in commercial flocks died from or were culled due to HPAI, compared to 1.49 million in February, over 20 million in March and 14.7 million in April.

Read more on bird flu, symptoms to look for and culling methods here.