29,000 Turkeys Killed to Prevent a Highly Pathogenic Strain of Bird Flu in the US

According to recent news, a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu was identified in a commercial turkey flock. To prevent the highly pathogenic strain from spreading any further, the farm had to cull 29,000 turkeys in Dubois County, Indiana.

Highly Contagious Bird Flu

Flu viruses are constantly changing and animal flu viruses can change such that they may gain the ability to infect people easily and spread among people, causing a pandemic.

Bird flus, also known as a type A influenza virus, can infect poultry. Not only does the virus infect chickens and turkeys, but also free-flying waterfowl like ducks, geese and shorebirds.

According to recent news published by Reuters, the outbreak was detected in an Indianan turkey flock on Wednesday, making this the nation’s first case in a commercial poultry operation since 2020. The USDA also announced on their website that China and Korea have blocked non-heated poultry meat from Indiana, while Taiwan restricted poultry meat and egg products from the state.

No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. As part of existing avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners are working together on testing and additional surveillance. Anyone involved with poultry production, whether from a small backyard or a large commercial producer should review and check the health of their birds with biosecurity practices, as it is not uncommon to detect avian influenza in wild birds, as these viruses circulate freely in those populations without the birds appearing sick.

Also read: Manatee Family Rescued by ZooTampa After Deadliest Year for Manatees in Florida

29,000 Turkeys Colled in Indiana

The Indiana indicates that the strain has entered a migratory pathway for birds called the Mississippi Flyway that includes major US poultry-producing states like Mississippi, said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

“This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry in the United States since 2020,” the USDA statement reads. And it’s Indiana’s first case of H5N1 infection amongst commercial poultry since 2016, Reuters reported. During that 2016 outbreak, more than a dozen commercial flocks in the state were affected and upwards of 400,000 birds were culled, according to the IndyStar.

Federal officers assured that this does not present an immediate concern to public health, but it does however put agriculture and industry folks worried, as nearly 30,000 turkeys have already been euthanized in efforts to control the spread.

According to LiveScience, the highly pathogenic strain was first spotted in wild bird populations in North and South Carolina last month. Wild birds in eastern Canada also tested positive for the virus around that time.

On Monday (Feb. 7), an Indiana farmer estimated a number of 100 dead turkeys in his barn. He also expressed that the surviving turkeys appeared lethargic. After a few tests done by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa; It was revealed that the birds had been killed by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

According to the USDA, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 F [73.8 degrees Celsius] kills bacteria and viruses. Safe food handling practices would be enough to kill off the H5N1 virus.

Also read: Indonesian Crocodile Stuck in Motorcycle Tire Finally Freed After 6 Years

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