JASPER — A flock of 29,000 turkeys in southern Dubois County were destroyed and a control area has been established in response to this week’s confirmation of highly pathogenic avian flu.

Indiana State Board of Animal Health confirmed the presence Wednesday, and reported Thursday a 10-kilometer control area is established around the index farm, primarily in Dubois County and a portion of northern Spencer County.

The single infected site is in Dubois County, according to the agency. All commercial poultry flocks (18 total) within the control area are under quarantine until further notice.

Poultry farms in the control area have completed a first round of surveillance testing to ensure the virus is not present in the area beyond the index farm. All tests were negative. Testing of the control area farms will continue on a weekly basis.

The state board of animal health staff also contacted known hobby/backyard poultry owners in the control area to schedule testing. Hobby poultry owners in southern Dubois County should contact BOAH at 317-544-2387 to schedule testing at no charge.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources is surveying areas in and surrounding the control area for high populations of waterfowl to develop a strategy for wildlife surveillance, working in cooperation with USDA-Wildlife Services staff in Indiana.

BOAH is working with Indiana Department of Health, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and USDA Veterinary Services and Farm Service Agency.

The case confirmed Wednesday is the first report in commercial poultry in the United States since 2020 and the first in Indiana since 2016.

Samples were collected from the birds Feb. 7 and submitted to the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University after approximately 100 birds died, flock appeared lethargic and decreased consumption of water. Tests indicated a likely infection of an H5 avian influenza virus.

The results were reported to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, which authorized transport of the samples to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa for confirmatory testing.

NVSL confirmed that the virus present was a highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 (with a Eurasian H5 goose/Guangdong lineage).

No food safety risk

Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat. Officials are not aware of any public health significance with this virus. No cases of human infection have been reported. Human health agencies will be monitoring workers and others in contact with birds to monitor for influenza-like illness.

Hobby 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; lack of coordination; and diarrhea.

Indiana is a leading producer of poultry, eggs and poultry products. Nationally, Indiana ranks first in ducks, second in layer chickens and table eggs, and third in turkeys, as well as a major producer of broilers. Dubois County is Indiana’s leading turkey-producing county.

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