Indiana Poultry Farmers Wary Of Bird Flu

Apr 21, 2015

Credit Sherwood / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mwanasimba/

As Indiana and Illinois battle a strain of dog flu, farmers and other poultry breeders are watching out for bird flu that‘s affecting other states in the Midwest.

The H5N2 strain of bird flu has been spotted primarily at turkey farms in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Missouri, as well as Arkansas to the South.

Last week, it was reported at a chicken farm in Wisconsin and has also affected farms in Canada.

Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine professor Patricia Wakenell says more than two million turkeys have died so far, and agriculture officials don‘t know what caused the strain to spread.

"We don't now if it was an actual bird carrying the virus or if this particular virus came from, let's say, feces from birds that was left in the fall," says Wakenell.

Though this bird flu strain has not been spotted in farms or in backyard poultry operations in Indiana yet, Wakenell says those who raise birds are watching carefully, as the virus spreads easily.

Indiana ranks third nationally in turkey production, third in the production of eggs and first in commercial duck production.

No international markets have cut off the importation of birds from the U.S. yet, but Wakenell says that‘s another worry for farmers even if the flu strain doesn‘t make it to Indiana.