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New bird flu case reported in Indiana

Chickens walk in a fenced pasture at an organic farm in Iowa on Oct. 21, 2015. Another 1.2 million chickens will have to be slaughtered after bird flu was confirmed on an Iowa egg farm in the second massive case this week just days after nearly 1 million chickens had to be killed on a Minnesota egg farm. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

MT. VERNON, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana has reported its first case of avian influenza in 2023.

A hobby flock of 23 birds in Posey County tested presumptive positive for bird flu on Wednesday, the State Board of Animal Health announced Thursday.

The small flock was reported to the board after a “significant” number of birds died, the board says. The specific location of the Posey County flock was not provided.

Samples taken from the birds are being sent to the national U.S. Department of Agriculture for confirmation testing, with the results expected in the next few days.

The board says its staff will reach out to local hobby flock owners to offer testing of birds to ensure the virus is not present. There are no commercial poultry flocks located within 6.2 miles of the Posey County hobby flock.

The Posey County findings have no impact on the state’s “influenza-free” status that was achieved on April 19 because the small flock was not engaged in selling birds or eggs, the board says.

Thursday’s announcement comes as many Indiana farmers and hobby flock owners are still recovering from the 2022 avian flu outbreak, which was Indiana’s largest in years and led to the loss of nearly 229,000 birds statewide between February and December.

Bird flu is still active throughout parts of the U.S., with the virus having been identified at 832 sites in 47 states since February 2022.

How to report sick poultry, wild birds

Hobby poultry owners should report illness or death to the USDA Health Birds Hotline at 866-536-7593. More information on the signs and symptoms of bird flu can be found on the USDA’s website.

Hoosiers can report sick or dead wild birds through Indiana DNR’s online sick and dead wildlife reporting system.

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