Bird flue detected among mixed species flock in South Dakota

A flock of young turkeys stood in a barn at the Moline family turkey farm after the Mason, Iowa farm was restocked on Aug. 10, 2015. Farms that raise turkeys and chickens for meat and eggs are on high alert, fearing a repeat of a widespread bird flu outbreak in 2015 that killed 50 million birds across 15 states and cost the federal government nearly $1 billion. The new fear is driven by the discovery announced Feb. 9, 2022, of the virus infecting a commercial turkey flock in Indiana.

Federal inspectors have confirmed the presence of bird flu in a commercial mixed species flock in southeastern South Dakota.

Samples from the flock in Charles Mix County, which borders Nebraska, were tested at a national laboratory at South Dakota State University. The property was quarantined and the birds will be killed to prevent spread of the disease, the Agriculture Department said.

Avian influenza is an airborne respiratory virus that spreads easily among chickens through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can spread from flock to flock by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.

More: Healthy pigs being killed as meatpacking backlog hits farms

The highly contagious virus was discovered a month ago in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana and was detected earlier this week in a backyard flock of chickens and ducks in western Iowa.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the recent bird flu detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

Birds from the South Dakota flock will not enter the food system, the USDA said.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Bird flu detected among mixed species flock in South Dakota

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