This is the largest outbreak of avian influenza Sweden has ever seen, and the organisation Svenska ägg (Swedish Eggs) estimates that about 20 percent of Swedish egg production has been temporarily eliminated by bird flu.
Approximately 1.5 million chickens and thousands of turkeys have been killed since November 2020, when the infection started spreading to egg companies.
Despite being highly contagious for other birds, this strain doesn’t infect people easily.
In an attempt to prevent the spread, all laying hens have been brought inside to avoid contact with wild birds that carry the disease.
As a result, free range and organic eggs in particular are becoming harder and harder to find on supermarket shelves.
Their scarcity has forced some supermarkets to start selling imported eggs from other Scandinavian countries, although stores say these will be clearly marked.
It is rare for eggs to be completely out of stock, but customers are more likely to have to buy other sizes or brands than their usual preference.
The outbreak seems to be easing now. Thanks to warmer, brighter weather, it’s been two weeks without a positive case. But the impact of the peak in February will last for much of the year.
“It may take until the first quarter of 2022 before production is in full swing again and exports have gained momentum,” Marie Lönneskog Hogstadius, operations manager at Swedish Eggs, told the TT news agency.
She said that egg shortages could last well into the summer and perhaps into the autumn.