DARKE COUNTY — Sam Custer of the OSU Darke County Extension Office reports that a case of avian influenza, or “bird flu,” has been discovered in a southwest Indiana turkey flock.
“Indiana has a confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza, H7N8,” said Custer. “It was found in a commercial turkey flock in southwestern Indiana’s Dubois County and reported on Thursday.”
“I have been in conversation with Dr. El-Gazzar, Assistant Professor and Poultry Extension Veterinarian, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, this afternoon.”
“My understanding is that it is a 10-house, 60,000-bird turkey facility, confirmed positive yesterday around 4 p.m. Not all 10 houses are affected, only two. The affected houses will be depopulated today to meet the 24 hours goal, but the rest of the houses will be finished some time tomorrow. The planned disposal method is in-house composting.”
“There are 65 commercial facilities in the 10-kilometer zone and they are all sampled and being tested as we speak. A door-to-door effort to sample all non-commercial poultry is underway,” he said.
Custer added, “This virus is different from last year virus and it is of North American lineage. This particular combination is uncommon but is not unheard of. Only partial sequences have been obtained and the full sequence of the virus necessary for a better understanding of its origin will be obtained sometime next week. Notification to the international community is underway and a few countries have already shut down exports from the United States.”
Custer warns that “caution, discretion and biosecurity should be observed in all commercial and noncommercial poultry premises.”
He added, “We are monitoring this outbreak very closely. There are new protocols in place to help control the spread. I hope they work. Darke and Mercer County are very heavily populated with poultry and an outbreak in this area would be devastating to our community.”
In June 2015, the Ohio Department of Agriculture banned live birds at shows throughout the state, including the Darke County Fair, due to a wide-ranging strain of avian flu that affected the Midwest. The ban was only recently lifted on Dec. 17, 2015.