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Avian Flu Ignites Concerns For Dubois County Businesses

Nearly a quarter of a million turkeys are dead after an outbreak of avian flu appeared in Dubois County, and officials are trying to determine how the flu is spreading and how much it could impact the community.

"What ends up happening is you have these huge collections kind of spreading like a spiderweb through the population of poultry farms," says Indiana University School of Public Health Professor Robert Reiner. "The only thing you can really do about it is by drawing a large circle around all of those farms, including a bunch of farms that probably don’t have any infectious or infected birds, and just wiping out the birds, pretty much wholesale."

Reiner says that avian flu can have a huge economic impact.

Although health officials are saying food is safe to eat, Dubois County business owner Jennifer Schuetter is concerned her restaurant will be affected. A third of her menu is made up of locally bought turkey.

“I’ve only thought about it from my business and other peoples' business," Schuetter says. "There are other places that serve turkey and meat. It’s not just me. It could affect a lot of people.”

The State Department of Health is working closely to monitor the outbreak.

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