Avian Flu Outbreak Widens

More than 300K chickens, turkeys could be affected in 3 states
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2022 12:29 AM CST
Updated Feb 17, 2022 7:02 AM CST
Bird Flu Outbreak Widens
A flock of young turkeys stand in a barn at the Moline family turkey farm after the Mason, Iowa farm was restocked on Aug. 10, 2015.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

A bird flu outbreak has spread and could now affect more than 300,000 chickens and turkeys in Indiana, Virginia, and Kentucky. Last week, nearly 30,000 turkeys at one Indiana farm were euthanized after the H5N1 strain of avian flu was detected for the first time in the US since 2020. The same strain has now been detected in thousands of birds on other farms in the three states, some of which are quarantined and others of which have been euthanized, USA Today reports. Officials believe migratory wild birds are likely spreading the virus. The strain is highly lethal to birds, the Washington Post reports.

Among the affected farms is a Tyson Foods facility where 246,000 birds are held; it's not clear how many are infected. The company says it is working to prevent spread and adds that there is no danger to consumers: "The USDA confirms that avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk to consumers in poultry that is properly prepared and cooked." Health officials add that there is no immediate public health concern and that no cases of bird flu in humans have been detected. While avian flu can pass from birds to humans, it's rare, and outbreaks are typically limited in scope when it does happen. There are, however, concerns that the US poultry supply could be impacted. (Read more bird flu stories.)

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