Indiana offcials find contagious virus in nine more turkey farms
Birds from nine more commercial turkey farms in Indiana have tested positive for bird flu, and officials were trying Saturday to determine the strain of the highly contagious virus.
The nine farms are in Dubois County, Ind., 70 miles from Louisville, Ky., the Indiana State Board of Animal Health said in a statement.
Authorities on Friday confirmed another commercial flock in Dubois County was infected with the H7N8 strain, which is different from the H5N2 virus that led to the deaths of about 48 million turkeys and chickens last summer.
All of the new infections are located within a control area set up around the first farm, the statement said. The control area has been expanded to four other Indiana counties, the board said.
Denise Derrer, spokeswoman for the Indiana board, said officials are still trying to determine how many birds are affected on the nine farms covered by the announcement Saturday. Officials had begun euthanizing birds at most of the new sites, the board said. All 60,000 turkeys on the first farm have been euthanized.
Research has shown that wild birds’ northern migration introduced the H5N2 virus, which began to accelerate from farm to farm in the spring. But it isn’t clear whether the mild winter weather played a role in the current outbreak. The highly pathogenic H7N8 virus has not yet been found in wild birds, suggesting that the virus could have developed in wild birds that spent the winter in southern Indiana, U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Andrea McNally said Friday.
“We may know more once the remaining work on virus sequencing is completed, likely sometime (this) week,” she said.
Indiana’s poultry industry brings in $2.5 billion a year. The state leads the country in duck production, is No. 3 in egg production and is fourth in turkeys.