In­di­ana of­f­cials find con­ta­gious virus in nine more turkey farms

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

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.

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