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H5N8 Avian Flu Virus Spreads to Indiana

12 May 2015

US - The latest confirmed outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in US poultry bring the total to 145 outbreaks involving more than 30 million birds. One of the new outbreaks could be a significant development: it was the first in Indiana and involved the H5N8 virus variant in an area under the Mississippi flyway for migrating birds - a first for that combination.

In its report on 11 May, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed five new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza:

  • Indiana, Whitley county - backyard mixed poultry (number of birds pending)
  • Iowa, Sioux county - 581,300 commercial chickens
  • Iowa, Sioux county - 100,000 commercial chickens
  • Iowa, Pocahontas county - 32,900 commercial turkeys
  • Iowa, Cherokee county - 45,000 commercial turkeys.

In all the Iowa outbreaks, the cause has been confirmed as the H5N2 subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of mixed Eurasian and American origin. They are in the area of the Mississippi flyway for migrating birds.

First outbreak of H5N8 influenza in Indiana, Mississippi flyway

APHIS has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza (HPAI) in a backyard mixed-poultry flock in Whitley County, Indiana.

While there have been multiple detections of HPAI H5N2 in the Mississippi flyway, this is the first finding of HPAI H5N8 in the Mississippi flyway, which previously had only been confirmed in the Pacific flyway.

National Guard Assists in Iowa

The Iowa National Guard is now assisting in the fight to control the avian flu in Iowa, reports Siouxland Matters.

Colonel Greg Hapgood told ABC9 News that the area will serve as a meeting place for those dealing with the more than 25 million chicken and turkey carcasses that need to be disposed of.

One new outbreaks suspected in Minnesota

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced on 11 May that there was one new presumptive virus-positive flock in the state:

  • Swift county 7 - turkeys (number of birds pending)

A total of more than 5.66 million poultry on 85 farms in 21 counties have been affected in the state.

No new outbreaks in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection reported no new cases of H5 influenza on 11 May.

The total number of birds affected is over 1.76 million, comprising more than 1.11 million chickens and 652,000 turkeys (41,760 hatching eggs).

Overview of high-path avian flu outbreaks in US poultry

The following information is based on published USDA APHIS outbreak reports:

  • The latest cases bring the total number of confirmed high-path avian flu outbreaks since December 2014 to 147.
  • Outbreaks have occurred in poultry in 14 states.
  • Three of the early outbreaks were caused by the H5N8 sub-type of the virus but in almost all those since mid-February 2015, an H5N2 variant of mixed Eurasian and American origin has been confirmed.
  • The majority of outbreaks have been in commercial turkeys (105); 26 have been in commercial chickens, one in a mixed commercial flock and 15 in backyard flocks.
  • The number of poultry affected by these outbreaks now exceeds 30.73 million. This figure includes more than 25.08 million commercial chickens and 5.56 million commercial turkeys as well as 7,173 backyard poultry.
  • The disease has also affected five captive wild birds.

Further Reading

You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

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