State Watch

30,000 turkeys euthanized after bird flu discovered on Indiana farm

Julia Nikhinson

Close to 30,000 turkeys were euthanized on an Indiana farm after an outbreak of bird flu was discovered among its population. 

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) announced in a release earlier this week that it had been notified that turkeys had tested positive for H5N1 — a highly pathogenic avian flu — at a commercial farm in Dubois County, Ind. 

The farm was placed under quarantine after 100 turkeys died and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed poultry had tested positive for the virus.

The quarantine extends to other, nearby farms. In the control area, the BOAH said on Thursday that no other farms have reported a case of the bird flu.

All 29,000 turkeys at the original farm in Dubois County were put down following the outbreak.

The Hill has reached out to the BOAH for further comment.

Indiana, the third-largest turkey-producing state in the U.S., saw previous outbreaks of another strain of the bird flu in 2015 and 2016, according to the Indy Star. In 2015, the outbreak caused the death of 50 million birds and cost the nation $3 billion to combat.


Denise Derrer-Spears, a spokeswoman for the BOAH, told The Hill she did not believe the outbreak would cause any devastating impact, but cautioned against the phrase “under control.”

“It’s a disease that is carried by wild migratory waterfowl. You know, do we have control of them? No. So using word under control is kind of hard to do,” she said. “As far as what’s going on at that site, we feel like we’re under control but just in general, it’s day to day.”

Derrer-Spears said they were in a control and cleanup phase and hoping to get to a state where they can lift the quarantine, but said that could take weeks. She added that while the state doesn’t know what the source of the outbreak is, there was no indication of foul play or of any violations.

Derrer-Spears offered a reminder that bird flu is not a threat to the safety of poultry meat or eggs.

The USDA previously confirmed the bird flu was present in wild birds last month in several states along the Atlantic Flyway, a major path for migratory birds in North America.

To better understand the spread of the strain, the USDA’s National Wildlife Disease Program announced on Friday it was conducting surveillance tests of 31,000 wild bird samples in 49 states.

“Conducting surveillance sampling in all four flyways will assist efforts to better understand the presence of variants of concern and help us monitor movement of avian influenza strains along migratory pathways,” the department said.

Avian influenza type A typically spreads among birds and poultry and does not transmit to humans in most cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

— Updated at 4:53 p.m.

Tags Bird flu Dubois County euthanized farm Indiana Indiana State Board of Animal Health outbreak turkeys U.S. Department of Agriculture
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