CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) — The avian or “bird flu” has driven up egg and poultry prices nationwide including in Western Massachusetts. The highly contagious malady has spread far and wide, causing millions of chickens and turkeys to be killed in order to prevent the virus’s spread.

According to Larry Katz, the owner of Arnold’s Meats in Chicopee, the price of eggs is in flux. “All of a sudden this week we see a drop in eggs,” Katz said. “Last week, they were sky high. This week they dropped about 60 to 70 cents a dozen.”

According to the USDA, compared to this time last year, the average weekly price for large eggs is up by 44%. Poultry prices are also predicted to rise between 9% and 12% this year.

The disease rarely infects humans, but is highly contagious among birds.