Indiana has a confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza, H7N8. It was found in a commercial turkey flock in southwestern Indiana’s Dubois County and reported on Thursday. Governor Mike Pence has “directed all relevant agencies to bring the full resources of the state to bear on containing and resolving the issue as quickly as possible.”
USDA secretary Tom Vilsack said they have sent an emergency response team to the farm to begin the process of depopulation and he wants “to encourage people to be vigilant on the bio-security side of their own operations.”
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) was notified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory that poultry from a commercial turkey farm in Dubois County tested positive for highly pathogenic H7N8 avian influenza. A company veterinarian delivered samples from the flock to the laboratory for testing, after several hundred birds died.
BOAH reminds consumers that Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk and that poultry and eggs are safe to eat. The Centers for Disease Control considers the risk of illness to humans to be very low.
“This finding of highly pathogenic H7N8 is unique to Indiana and the nation,” said Indiana State Veterinarian Bret D. Marsh, DVM. “This strain is unrelated to those identified in the Upper Midwest in 2015, nor is it related to the HPAI case identified in a Northeastern Indiana backyard poultry flock that was affected last May.”
Pence added, “Indiana is one of the largest poultry states in America, and multiple state agencies have been heavily focused for nearly a year on the necessary steps in this type of event, including the State Board of Animal Health, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana State Poultry Association, and several private sector partners. Hoosiers can be assured that we are taking all precautions to contain the situation and minimize the effects to Indiana’s robust poultry industry.”
Indiana’s poultry industry ranks fourth nationally in turkey production, first in duck production, third in eggs, and is a significant producer of broiler chickens. The poultry industry employs more than 14,000 Hoosiers and is valued at $2.5 billion.
Backyard poultry owners are encouraged to be aware of the signs of avian influenza and report illness and/or death to the USDA Healthy Birds Hotline: 866-536-7593. Callers will be routed to a state or federal veterinarian in Indiana for a case assessment. Dead birds should be double-bagged and refrigerated for possible testing.
Signs include: sudden death without clinical signs; lack of energy or appetite; decreased egg production; soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; swelling or purple discoloration of head, eyelids, comb, hocks; nasal discharge; coughing; sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. A great resource for backyard bird health information is online at: www.healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.
UPDATES and INFORMATION:
Situation updates and status reports about ongoing avian influenza activities, along with critical disease-related information, will be posted online at: www.in.gov/boah/2390.htm. Users may subscribe to email updates on a link at that page.