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Bird flu found at second Elkhart County duck farm

Taiwanese_duck_farm.jpeg
MiNe (sfmine79)
/
Wikimedia Commons
A duck farm in Taiwan.

Indiana officials say bird flu has been detected at a second Elkhart County duck farm. The virus was first spotted in Elkhart County last week.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health said Tuesday that the second duck flock has an estimated 6,000 birds. Last week’s flock had at least 4,500 birds.

Surveillance testing of nearby poultry farms, backyard flocks and wild birds in a 10-kilometer area around the first outbreak has been completed with negative results. The agency says it is now conducting surveillance testing in a 10-kilometer area around the second outbreak.

It is in the process of reaching out to commercial farms, but hobby poultry owners in Elkhart County can call 317-544-2387 to schedule free testing of their flocks.

Bird flu was detected earlier this year at six turkey farms in southern Indiana’s Dubois and Greene counties.

Around 24 million poultry birds nationwide have been lost due to the outbreak, either killed by the virus or culled to prevent its spread, and zoos across North America are moving birds indoors to protect them from the flu. And the outbreak is driving average egg prices to around $3 a dozen, nearly double the April 2021 average according to the USDA.

So far, the risk of human infection seems low — NPR reports that the only person known to have contracted this strain of bird flu was an elderly person in the United Kingdom who tested positive in January 2022 but lived in close quarters with ducks and reported no symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control is monitoring the situation, and said in March that the H5N1 strain poses a low risk to the public.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.