Bird flu discovered in Indiana’s 4th turkey farm

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP and WTHR) – Bird flu has been detected in a fourth commercial poultry flock in southern Indiana and in a non-commercial backyard flock on New York’s Long Island, officials confirmed Saturday.

Lab tests from a second commercial flock of turkeys in Greene County came back as presumptive positive for the virus, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health said. The samples are being verified at the US Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa.

Another possible case was discovered about 5 miles away in Greene County earlier in the week. Two previous cases were found in adjacent Dubois County. The pending test results should indicate whether the virus is the same as previous cases and whether the virus is highly pathogenic, meaning it is more severe and contagious in birds.

Authorities began euthanizing all 15,200 birds at the last farm to prevent the spread of the disease, and a 6.2-mile circle was established around the farm. Thirteen flocks of commercial poultry in the new control area are under quarantine and will be tested regularly, the council said.

As of Saturday, more than 100,000 birds had been euthanized in Indiana in an effort to stop the spread of the disease.

The virus has also been detected outside Indiana in a flock of commercial broiler chickens in Kentucky, a backyard flock of mixed-species birds in northern Virginia and, more recently, federal officials confirmed it was detected on Long Island in New York. New York state officials have quarantined the site in Suffolk County and birds from affected properties “will be depopulated to prevent the spread of disease,” the USDA said in a statement. , noting that birds in the flock will not enter the food system.

RELATED: Avian flu case in the United States puts chicken and turkey farms on high alert

This is the first time highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in the United States since 2020 and the first in Indiana since 2016, when 11 poultry farms were affected and more than 400,000 birds died.

The strain poses a significant threat to Indiana’s poultry industry, which ranks third nationally in turkey production, first in duck production, second in table eggs and laying hens, and is a major producer of broiler chickens. The poultry industry employs over 14,000 Hoosiers and is valued at $2.5 billion.

These first cases of the virus discovered have put farms that raise turkeys and chickens for meat and eggs on high alert. Many are taking steps to increase biosecurity, fearing a repeat of a widespread bird flu outbreak in 2015 that killed 50 million birds in 15 states and cost the federal government nearly $1 billion.

Animal Health Board staff said bird flu does not present an immediate public health concern and no human cases of bird flu virus have been detected in the United States.

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Sharon P. Juarez