Indiana achieves bird flu-free poultry status

Indiana has been granted free status from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) according to the Indiana State Animal Health Council. This designation, as listed by the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH, formerly OIE), helps restore exports and international trade of Indiana poultry products.

Indiana poultry owners should be aware that an HPAI-free status is not an “all clear” or an indication that disease risk has passed in Indiana or the United States. Owners of all herds, large and small, are asked to continue to apply safe biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction of the virus.

The first HPAI case of 2022 in Indiana — and the country — was confirmed in early February in a flock of turkeys in Dubois County. To date, Indiana has had nine commercial poultry flocks (ducks and turkeys) and four small hobby flocks (mixed species) testing positive for HPAI in five counties. All commercial sites have been cleared for restocking at the owner’s discretion. All control zones and surveillance zones have been released.

The HPAI findings in Indiana in February had led to the depopulation of more than 171,000 turkeys and 17,000 ducks raised specifically for commercial production.

The flu virus is still very active in some parts of the United States. HPAI has been identified at 395 poultry sites in 38 states since February. Wild birds infected with HPAI have been found coast to coast in a variety of species, including waterfowl (ducks, swans, geese, gulls, etc.), raptors (hawks and eagles), as well as other common species (American robin, common raven, wild turkey).

Steps should be taken to minimize exposure of wild birds to poultry as much as possible. Nationally, there is growing concern that another wave of HPAI cases will emerge at the start of fall migration.

According to WOAH guidelines, HPAI-free status can be declared for a state or region after the disease has been eliminated on all affected farms and no new infections are detected for a minimum waiting period. of 28 days.

The Indiana State Animal Health Council said it has been working with multiple state and federal partners since February to respond to this event, including the Indiana Department of Health, Department of Safety Indiana Interior, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and the USDA Veterinary Services, Wildlife Services, and agricultural.

The Indiana State Animal Health Council stresses that avian influenza does not pose a risk to food safety; 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 monitor workers and other people in contact with birds to watch for influenza-like illnesses.

Homeowners of poultry are encouraged to be aware of the signs of avian influenza and to report illness and/or death to the USDA Healthy Birds Hotline: 866-536-7593. Callers will be referred to an Indiana state or federal veterinarian for a case evaluation. Dead birds should be double bagged and refrigerated for possible testing.

Signs of HPAI in birds include sudden death without clinical signs; lack of energy or appetite; decreased egg production; soft-shelled or deformed eggs; swelling or purple discoloration of the head, eyelids, comb, hocks; runny nose; to cough; sneezing; lack of coordination; and diarrhea.

Click HERE to report any other sick or dead wild birds through the MNR’s online Sick and Dead Wildlife Reporting System.

Source: Indiana State Animal Health Council.

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