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State officials: Bird flu found at 4th Indiana turkey farm

The virus has been found in Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia and New York.

INDIANAPOLIS — Avian influenza has been detected in a fourth commercial poultry flock in southern Indiana and in a non-commercial backyard flock on Long Island in New York, officials confirmed Saturday.

Laboratory testing of a second commercial flock of turkeys in Greene County has come back as presumptively positive for the virus, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health said. The samples are being verified at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa.

Another possible case was found about 5 miles away in Greene County earlier in the week. Two previous cases were found in adjacent Dubois County.

Pending test results should indicate if the virus is the same as that in the previous cases and if the virus is highly pathogenic, which means it is more severe and contagious among birds.  

Officials have begun euthanizing the 15,200 birds at the latest farm to prevent the spread of the disease and a 6.2-mile circle has been established around the farm. Thirteen commercial poultry flocks within the new control area are under quarantine and will be tested regularly, the board said. 

As of Saturday, more than 100,000 birds had been euthanized in Indiana in an effort to stop the spread of the disease. 

RELATED: Highly pathogenic avian influenza detected in Indiana

The virus has also been detected outside of Indiana in a flock of commercial broiler chickens in Kentucky, a backyard flock of mixed-species birds in northern Virginia and, most recently, federal officials confirmed it had been detected on Long Island in New York. 

New York state officials have quarantined the site in Suffolk County and birds on the affected properties "will be depopulated to prevent the spread of disease," said the USDA in a statement, noting that birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

RELATED: US bird flu case puts chicken, turkey farms on high alert

This is the first time highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in the U.S. since 2020 and the first in Indiana since 2016, when 11 poultry farms were affected and more than 400,000 birds died. 

The strain poses a significant threat to Indiana's poultry industry, which ranks third nationally in turkey production, first in duck production, second in table eggs and egg-laying chickens, and is a significant producer of broiler chickens. The poultry industry employs more than 14,000 Hoosiers and is valued at $2.5 billion.

These first found cases of the virus have put farms that raise turkeys and chickens for meat and eggs on high alert. Many are taking steps to increase biosecurity, fearing a repeat of a widespread bird flu outbreak in 2015 that killed 50 million birds across 15 states and cost the federal government nearly $1 billion.

Animal Health Board staff said avian influenza does not present an immediate public health concern and no human cases of avian influenza viruses have been detected in the U.S.

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