What's going on with bird flu?

While row-crop farmers have been brimming with anticipation for the spring planting season, ranchers and livestock producers have been battling a virus affecting their herds for several weeks now that could potentially cause extreme disruptions to the industry. 

The H5N1 strain of avian influenza (or bird flu) isn't new. Scientists have detected the virus in migratory birds for multiple years now, and poultry farmers are well aware of its existence. However, what is new is the development of U.S. dairy cattle contracting the disease, as well as the virus infecting a human for only the second time in U.S. history. 

The virus was first detected in a U.S. dairy herd March 25, while the human case was discovered April 1. Here’s what we know so far: 

As of April 10,...