According to the Associated Press, turkeys at nine more Indiana farms have tested positive for bird flu near the location where the USDA first confirmed the strain. The nine farms are located in Dubois County, about 70 miles from Louisville, Ky. All of the new infections are within a quarantine area set up around the first farm and that area has been expanded to four neighboring Indiana counties—Martin, Orange, Crawford, and Daviess.
Confirmation of new bird flu cases alarmed industry officials after the rapid spread of the H5N2 virus last year led to the deaths of about 48 million turkeys and chickens, and drove egg prices higher. Officials are trying to determine how many birds will have to be euthanized at the nine farms. All 60,000 turkeys at the first farm have been euthanized.
It isn’t clear whether the mild winter weather played a role in the current outbreak of the virus, state and federal officials said. The 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, said USDA spokeswoman Andrea McNally. Research has shown that wild birds’ northern migration introduced the H5N2 virus, which began to accelerate from farm to farm last spring.
While the H7N8 strain is highly contagious for birds, the USDA said no human infections from the viral strain have been detected.
USDA press release
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7N8 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana, on January 15. This is a different strain of HPAI than the strains that caused the 2015 outbreak.