State Health Official: Bird Flu Not Fading

AP photo

Kurt Darling
Network Indiana

WASHINGTON — Tests confirmed this week that a flock of around 12,000 turkeys in southern Indiana had bird flu.

The birds in Daviess County had to be put down because of the massive infection. State animal health experts also say that the virus has likely spread to an additional flock of over 27,000 turkeys in Martin County this week and that flock as well has been killed. In all over 38,000 turkeys have had to be euthanized this week.

“Something is different this year and is happening with this virus and it’s just not going away,” said Denise Spears with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

Spears tells WISH-TV that the virus usually started bogging down this time of year, but this year it seems to be just as infectious as it was earlier on in 2022.

Avian flu, according to Spears, is typically spread by migratory birds like ducks or geese. She said the virus is spread by their droppings and can then infect farm birds like turkeys. In late November, the Indiana DNR detected the virus in a flock of Canadian geese.

But, Spears added they have reason to believe that this year’s strand of Avian flu may be airborne.

“These barns are typically pretty well ventilated to keep the birds’ fresh air and keep them cool,” said Spears. “We have seen cases where the first birds that get sick are the ones closest to the ventilation fans.”

The risk of humans getting infected with Avian flu is remote, as is the risk of the virus spreading through poultry and eggs. This year there have been zero cases of Hoosiers getting infected.

A national hike in turkey and egg prices is also attributed to the outbreak of bird flu.