Bird flu prompts Nebraska officials to cancel poultry events

A flock of young turkeys stand in a barn at the Moline family turkey farm after the Mason, Iowa farm was restocked on Aug. 10, 2015. Farms that raise turkeys and chickens for meat and eggs are on high alert, fearing a repeat of a widespread bird flu outbreak in 2015 that killed 50 million birds across 15 states and cost the federal government nearly $1 billion. The new fear is driven by the discovery announced Feb. 9, 2022, of the virus infecting a commercial turkey flock in Indiana. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Bird flu continues to spread across the state prompting Nebraska agriculture officials to ban all auctions and fair events involving poultry.

The Nebraska Agriculture Department announced Saturday that a fourth case of avian influenza had been confirmed in the state although this latest one came in a small backyard flock in Holt County instead of a large commercial operation. Once the disease is identified, all the birds in the affected flock are quickly killed, and officials quarantine the area around that farm.

The bird flu case announced Saturday was the fourth one found in the state. Cases of the highly contagious disease have been confirmed in at least 18 states since it was first identified in Indiana last month, and more than 13 million chickens and turkeys have been slaughtered because of it.

Nebraska Agriculture Director Steve Wellman said he decided that the state needed to cancel all poultry events at least through May 1 to help limit the spread of the disease in the state.

The airborne virus can be spread through contact with infected poultry, by farm equipment or on the clothing of caretakers although officials believe it is primarily being spread by wild birds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the recent cases in birds do not present an immediate public health concern to humans.


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