Thousands of turkeys killed after bird flu detected on Indiana farm

An outbreak of the bird flu has been reported on a turkey farm in southern Indiana and nearly 30,000 turkeys have already been euthanized in efforts to control the spread. This does not present an immediate concern to public health, federal officials said, but it does have agriculture and industry folks worried.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Agriculture reported the confirmed case of the H5N1 strain of avian flu at a farm in Dubois County. It is a highly pathogenic strain, meaning it is lethal to all poultry that contract the disease.

This is the nation’s first confirmed case of the flu in a commercial operation since 2020 and six years since it was last found on farms in Indiana, when hundreds of thousands of birds were killed as a result.

“This is a foreign animal disease and shouldn’t be on our landscape,” said Denise Derrer Spears, the spokeswoman of the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. “That flips the switch and makes this a big deal right off the bat, and we need to stamp it out before it gets out of control.”

n this Jan.  17. 2016, photo, workers wearing contamination suits are driven to turkey houses on a farm along North Hickory Grove Road in Dubois, Ind.  Frigid temperatures are hampering efforts to euthanize turkeys at several southwestern Indiana farms where a strain of bird flu was found last week, freezing the hoses used to spread a foam that suffocates the affected flocks, a spokeswoman for a state agency said Monday, Jan 18. (Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald via AP)

The response to the outbreak has been swift, both from state and federal agencies as well as the economy. Taiwan has restricted poultry meat and egg products from Indiana while China and Korea blocked non-heated poultry meat from the state, the USDA said on its website. Though limited, these trade restrictions and loss of poultry are a blow to the farm sector and individual producers.

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