Bird flu outbreak closes 10 turkey farms, prompts killing of 400 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bird flu outbreak closes 10 turkey farms, prompts killing of 400,000 birds in Dubois Co., Ind.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An outbreak of bird flu has closed down 10 turkey farms in Dubois County, Indiana, about 70 miles west of Louisville.

The county is full of state and federal workers along with low-level prisoners and farm workers who have euthanized 400,000 turkeys and chickens so far.

The first sick bird was detected on Jan. 15.

"When they noticed something was amiss, they reported it very quickly and we were able to respond very quickly," said Dr. Koren Custer, a USDA field veterinarian.

Since then, 10 farms have been quarantined and 400,000 birds have been killed.

"We go in there when we have a positive and that flock is depopulated," said Dr. Custer. 

Dr. Custer says the virus is H7N8 and is contagious among a variety of birds.

"Avian influenza is spread by wild water fowl, so ducks and geese are regular migratory water fowl," Dr. Custer said.

Chickens have also had to be depopulated.

"Not because they were positive for influenza, but because they were considered in dangerous contact," Dr. Custer said.

She says as long as no more turkeys test positive for avian flu, officials won't have to kill any more birds.

"We're really, really urging folks to report any sick or dying birds because, again, we don't want to get too comfortable and make sure we don't miss anything in the future," Dr. Custer said.

Can humans get this?"

"There have been no identified human illnesses from this particular strain, but we want to make the public aware that poultry and eggs are safe to eat as long as they're properly cooked," Dr. Custer said.

The dead turkeys are then used for compost on most farms.

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