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Indiana Avian Influenza Epidemic: 400,000 Birds Euthanized, No New Cases

Image: Indiana Avian Influenza Epidemic: 400,000 Birds Euthanized, No New Cases
An Indian poultry farm worker attempts to catch a chicken during a culling operation after an outbreak of avian flu at a government poultry farm in Gandhigram, on the outskirts of Agartala, capital of northeastern state of Tripura on January 16, 2016. (Arindam Dey/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 01:58 PM

An Indiana avian influenza outbreak has led to the euthanization of about 413,000 birds, 62 percent of them turkeys, and there have been no new cases reported since Saturday.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have arrived in the state where officials told Indiana Public Media that 245,000 commercial turkeys and 156,000 commercial chickens have been affected by the flu, also known as the H7N8 virus, in Dubois County, Indiana, northeast of Evansville.

"The low-path H7N8 virus was identified during testing in the 10-kilometer zone around the initial flu-positive flock," Indiana state veterinarian Bret Marsh said in a statement over the weekend. "Because flu viruses are constantly mutating, we want to catch any case as early as possible after infection. We know this virus strain can intensify, so finding these cases as low-path strains shows we are keeping pace with the spread of this disease in the area."

Ann Denu and her husband, local farmers in the county, told Indiana Public Media that, while their turkeys tested negative for the virus, the worry has been a weight on their shoulders.

"We've had disease before and we've come out of it, but this is way more devastating," Denu said. "I mean it really is and you know your livelihood. It's how we eat, how we send our kids to school, you know what I mean? It's scary."

Indiana officials told the news site that by Wednesday at least 10 commercial turkey farms in the area had birds test positive for the avian flu.

"Any movement off this farm of birds has stopped," Denise Derrer, with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, told Indiana Public Media. "These birds are going to be depopulated as part of the requirement under international trade agreements. And so that is kind of the protocol for this disease so it doesn’t move any farther."

The Indiana Department of Health statement said that the Dubois County H7N8 outbreak marks the first time that particular flu had been identified in birds in the United States.

"The risk to the public is very low, and there is no food safety concern," state officials said. "Properly cooked eggs and poultry are safe to eat. When infected flocks are identified, the birds are quarantined and any exposed birds are depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease."

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An Indiana avian influenza outbreak has led to the euthanization of about 413,000 birds, 62 percent of them turkeys, and there have been no new cases reported since Saturday.
indiana, avian, influenza, euthanized
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2016-58-21
Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 01:58 PM
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