Updated, 7:00 p.m.: Tests of an additional 100 poultry farms in southern Indiana all came back negative for bird flu, the state animal health board announced Sunday afternoon, the Associated Press is reporting. It's a sign, officials say, that control measures are working.
Nine more commercial turkey farms in southern Indiana tested positive for avian flu Saturday, a huge jump for an outbreak of the bird illness that started at just one farm earlier in the week.
The nine new farms are located near a farm that authorities previously announced had been infected, in Dubois County. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health says testing is underway to determine the strain of the highly-contagious virus.
The farms, about 70 miles from Louisville, Kentucky, 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, the Associated Press reported.
Authorities confirmed Friday that a commercial flock of 60,000 birds was infected with the H7N8 strain, which is different than the H5N2 virus that led to the deaths of about 48 million turkeys and chickens last summer.
According to our partners at The Statehouse File:
After several hundred birds died, a lab performed tests on samples from the flock. The tests came back positive for H7N8 avian flu. This is the first case in a commercial flock in Indiana.
From the AP:
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, USDA spokeswoman Andrea McNally said Friday.
Research has shown that wild birds' northern migration introduced the H5N2 virus, which began to accelerate from farm to farm last spring.
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. More than 200,000 birds could eventually be killed, the Dubois County Free Press reported:
The multi-agency response will likely operate from the location for several weeks as this situation continues to unfold.
The best thing the public can do, according to ... officials, is to stay away from the area impacted by the infection.
In regards to the impact on humans, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said that this particular strain of avian flu is unlikely to affect humans.
All the animals at the impacted operations are being culled and then disposed of on site. None are allowed to leave the quarantined area.
Gov. Mike Pence visited Jasper to be briefed on the situation Saturday.
“The poultry industry is vital to Indiana and we are bringing all necessary resources to deal with this situation,” the governor said in a written statement afterward. “I appreciate the vigorous actions our state agencies are taking to isolate and manage this situation and appreciate the diligence and involvement of Dubois County community leaders who joined me at today’s briefing.”
“This could have a major, major economic impact on so many people in Dubois County because we are so active in Dubois County in the turkey and chicken business,” Dubois County Council President Greg Kendall told Hoosier Ag Today.
Two-hundred thousand birds, the number impacted so far, represents a small number of the total bird population in Dubois County, a major poultry producer in Indiana, according to the Dubois County Free Press.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.