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New Bird Flu Strain Found in Indiana

A new strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) that caused the depopulation of more than 48 million birds last year has been detected in Indiana. 

The new strain – H7N8 – was detected in a Dubois County, Indiana, commercial turkey flock. Department of Agriculture officials confirmed the detection Friday after testing at the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University. Most of the detections in the 2015 HPAI outbreak involved the H5N2, H5N8, and H5N1 viruses. 

This is the first detection of any strain of HPAI in almost seven months and the first in Indiana almost eight. According to a release from USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the flock has been quarantined and officials have already begun depopulating the birds at the facility. 

Birds from the infected flock will not be allowed in the food system, and there are no known cases of H7N8 infections in humans. As part of a plan to prevent further potential outbreaks, APHIS officials are encouraging poultry producers to review their biosecurity protocols and take steps to help prevent their flocks from being infected. APHIS is also reminding consumers to fully cook chicken and egg products to kill bacteria and viruses including HPAI. 

In 2015, more than 48 million birds were depopulated as a result of HPAI infections. The disease was spread by wild birds migrating north, so there was concern that the same wild birds would spread the disease as they migrated south in the fall and winter. 

Written by Spencer Chase for Agri-Pulse Communications

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