WASHINGTON — The latest reports of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) bring the current total number of affected birds in the United States well above the estimated record of 50 million birds from the wave in 2015. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plan Health Inspection Service, (APHIS), the running total sits at 52.5 million birds after a spike during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

On Nov. 25, three states reported outbreaks. An outbreak in a commercial laying flock in Dixon County, Neb., led to the depopulation of 1.7 million birds. The flock was the 13th Nebraska farm to report an HPAI case, tallying the state’s total of affected birds to 6.7 million. Only Iowa has contracted more cases, with over 15 million affected birds.

Alaska also reported an HPAI case in Matanuska Susitna County, affecting 20 birds. Additionally, the State of Alaska announced that a bear cub tested positive for avian influenza on Nov. 18 — the second time a bear was found to contract the disease.

South Dakota was the third state to report outbreaks over the weekend. Positive HPAI cases appeared across three counties—Beadle, Spink and Turner—with two commercial turkey flocks hit in Beadle County. Over 170,000 birds were culled due to the four South Dakota outbreaks.