8000 cage-free chickens hang out and lay eggs in a new chicken house at Hilliker Egg Ranch, on November 6, 2014 in Lakeside, California.
Christian Science Monitor—Christian Science Monitor/Getty
May 22, 2015 10:19 AM EDT

The most devastating outbreak of bird flu on record has already killed 38.9 million birds, according to a report Friday in The Wall Street Journal, causing huge spikes in egg prices.

The vast majority of these dead birds–32 million–are egg-laying hens. That means that roughly 10% of the country’s egg producers have been wiped out by an epidemic about twice as worse as one that struck the chicken population back in the 1980s.

The bird flu outbreak is wrecking havoc on the market for eggs, as dramatically reduced supply has tripled the price of so-called “breaker eggs,” or those sold in liquid form to such companies as McDonalds. Wholesale egg prices are up about 85% at grocery stores in some parts of the country, the Journal reports.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Read More From TIME

Related Stories