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13th bird flu case in Nebraska prompts slaughter of 1.8 million chickens

Nebraska has reported its 13th case of bird flu this year at a farm in Dixon County, where 1.8 million chickens will be sent to slaughter.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (“NDA”) reported the latest case at an egg-laying farm in northeast Nebraska.  The NDA will create a 6.2 mile radius around the site of the infection as a way to stop or limit any potential spread. The control zone is still being established, after which depopulation will commence followed by disposal.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly referred to as bird flu, has led to more than 50.54 million bird deaths this year, making it the worst nationwide outbreak of the virus in history. The prior record was 50.5 million birds killed in 2015. There have been 6.8 million birds ordered to be killed in Nebraska. That is the second-most by any state, behind only Iowa with 15.5 million killed.

Symptoms of bird flu include birds not taking in as much water as usual, lack of energy and appetite, soft-shelled or misshapen eggs and sudden death. Poultry producers are told to watch for these symptoms, limit access to their facilities, increase biosecurity efforts and report illnesses to the NDA or USDA.

While there is little risk to humans from the virus, the bird flu outbreak has contributed to the rising prices of chicken and turkey along with the soaring cost of feed and fuel.

Editorial credit: David Tadevosian / Shutterstock.com

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