State Watch

85K birds euthanized in South Dakota amid avian flu outbreak

Associated Press / Janet Hostetter

Officials in South Dakota said on Saturday that 85,000 birds in two state facilities were euthanized amid the state’s first avian flu outbreak since 2015.

The outbreaks took place on two farms in Charles Minx county, located in the southeastern part of the state, where the flu was first detected in turkeys, according to South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB). Other birds in close contact with the turkeys were euthanized as well.

“I think the response is going well and the industry has done a great job of stepping up and trying to prevent it,” the assistant state veterinarian Dr. Mendel Miller said in the report.

“They’re doing everything they can, but you know, there’s just some things that are out of their control, and we just have to deal with it when it happens,” he added.

Two other sites are also under investigation and will be named if the tests come back positive, Miller said. 

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) said Saturday the current outbreak involves “the highly pathogenic avian influenza.”

South Dakota previously saw avian flu outbreaks on 10 farms in 2015, impacting 50 million birds in 15 states, SDPB reported.

“We hope it doesn’t get as large, but if it is migratory waterfowl, they’re still around and that risk is still here,” Miller noted.

Avian flu reports have circulated across the nation since January. South Dakota GFP senior waterfowl biologist, Rocco Murano said that there have been detections found throughout the Atlantic, Central and Mississippi flyways.

“This particular strain appears to be more severe in that it impacts wild birds, and more transmissible among these wild bird populations,” he said in a statement. “With the spring migration, large numbers of birds are mixing together and moving across the landscape. The good news is that like the human flu, as the weather gets warmer, the virus is less present.” 

Tags Avian flu bird flu South Dakota

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