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Highly infectious avian flu strain found in birds at Indiana turkey farm, officials say

The farm’s 29,000 turkeys are being euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.
Credit: AP
Turkeys are shown in a pen at Root Down Farm in Pescadero, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Many turkey farmers are worried their biggest birds won't end up on Thanksgiving tables. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on large gatherings, the traditional Thanksgiving feast is being downsized. Fewer people at Thanksgiving tables means many families will buy smaller turkeys, or none at all. (AP Photo/Haven Daley)

INDIANA, USA — Federal and state agencies say a strain of avian flu that can cause high mortality rates among birds has been confirmed at a commercial turkey farm in southern Indiana. 

The U.S Department of Agriculture says its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza was found at the farm in Dubois County. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health says the farm is under quarantine and that the farm’s 29,000 turkeys are being euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease. 

According to USDA, there are no immediate public health concerns and no human cases have been detected. As a reminder, the department says properly handling and cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees will kill bacteria and viruses. 

The USDA says it is the first confirmation of highly pathogenic bird flu in commercial poultry in the U.S. since 2020.

CBS News reports that the last time bird flu struck in 2016, it tore through 11 farms and led to more than 400,000 bird deaths. 

Avian flu viruses are naturally occurring in wild aquatic birds and can infect domestic poultry and other bird species, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Humans are not typically infected by the virus, but the CDC says sporadic human infections have occurred.

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