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Update: 400,000 Birds Euthanized, But No New Cases Of Flu

Indiana ranks fourth in the nation in turkey production.

Pence

Photo: Courtesy: Governor Pence Press Office

Governor Mike Pence joins state and local officials Saturday to speak with local media following the briefing at the Unified Incident Command center in Jasper, Indiana.

Updated - Jan 20, 6:00 am.

Since Saturday, there have been no new cases in the Dubois County avian flu outbreak.

The investigation area was expanded an additional 10 kilometers from the origin with additional testing for birds within that radius.

A spokesperson for Indiana’s Joint Information Center confirmed Tuesday that approximately 413,000 birds have been, or are in the process of being euthanized. Of the birds, about 62 percent are turkeys while the rest are chickens that were not infected, but were considered to be in “dangerous contact” with an infected turkey flock.

Local turkey farmers Ann Denu and her husband have felt the strain of these past few days. While their turkeys tested negative for the H7N8 virus, Denu explains the toll it has taken.

“We’ve had disease before and we’ve come out of it, but this is way more devastating. I mean it really is and you know your livelihood. It’s how we eat, how we send our kids to school, you know what I mean? It’s scary.”

As temperatures drop and snow is forecast, workers are testing flocks and euthanizing those that are affected.

The surveillance will continue for at least 21 days after the last positive test for the avian flu virus is reported before this outbreak is declared over.

Updated - Jan 19, 6:20 am

It could take some time to contain what state health officials are describing as one of the worst avian flu outbreaks to hit Indiana.

Dozens of USDA officials have been deployed in the state as part of a joint incident response to the flu, which has affected 245,000 commercial turkeys and 156,000 commercial chickens so far.

An estimated 119,500 birds have been euthanized so far at four locations.

In the last 24 hours there have been 100 negative tests.

No human cases have been reported.

Updated – 1:30 pm

At least ten commercial turkey farms in the Dubois County area have now tested positive for avian flu.

The total number of birds affected totaled 240,900. An estimated 119,500 birds have been euthanized on four premises.

“Any movement off this farm of birds has stopped,” says Denise Derrer, with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.” These birds are going to be depopulated as part of the requirement under international trade agreements. And so that is kind of the protocol for this disease so it doesn’t move any farther.”

The control area is primarily in Dubois County, and has expanded to include parts of Crawford, Daviess, Martin and Orange counties. All infected sites are in Dubois County.

No human cases have been reported.

“The State Health Department is working closely with us to monitor anybody who has had contact with the birds, and verify if they do get sick, is it because of that,” Derrer says. “And make sure there’s proper treatment if it happens.”

Dubois County is Indiana’s largest turkey-producing county, growing 1.4 million birds annually.

Health officials say Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk.

“Your poultry products are safe,” says Derrer. “Your eggs are safe. Chicken, turkey, just keep eating it, it’s not a human health risk and certainly not a food safety risk.”

Governor Mike Pence toured the area Saturday and said the focus right now is a “multi-agency” effort to stop the spread of the disease and work on containment.

“The poultry industry is vital to Indiana and we are bringing all necessary resources to deal with this situation,” said Pence.

It will be several weeks before testing is concluded, but containment efforts appear to be working. In the last 24 hours, there’s been 100 negative tests.

Indiana ranks fourth in the nation in turkey production.

This is the first time a commercial flock in Indiana has ever received bird flu.

 

Samantha Horton, Sara Wittmeyer and Network Indiana contributed to this report.

 

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