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U.S. confirms highly pathogenic bird flu at Indiana turkey farm

CHICAGO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu in an Indiana turkey flock, the nation’s first case in a commercial poultry operation since 2020.

Cases of the disease, known as bird flu, can hurt the U.S. farm sector because poultry are killed and trading partners can limit imports from infected areas. China said on Monday it banned imports of poultry from Spain and Moldova due to outbreaks.

Bird flu does not present an immediate public health concern, the USDA said. But the infected turkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana, in the south of the state, suffered increased mortality, according to the agency.

Indiana said the strain of the virus was H5N1 and that it was the state’s first case of highly pathogenic bird flu in commercial poultry since 2016. The H5N1 strain has also been found in wild birds along the U.S. East Coast this year.

Indiana officials quarantined the infected farm, and birds on the property were culled to prevent the disease from spreading, the USDA said. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system, the agency said.

Federal and state officials said they are testing birds in the surrounding area for the disease and looking for signs of infections. (Reporting by Tom Polansek. Editing by Chris Reese.)

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