The 6.2-mile (10 km) control area associated with the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) incident in Dubois County, Ind., was lifted Feb. 22 by the Indiana state veterinarian.
Poultry owners — both commercial and residential — in the area may now resume normal operations and movements of birds and poultry products.
The control area was established on Jan. 15 after HPAI was identified on a Dubois County commercial turkey farm. Poultry and poultry products could not enter or leave the control area without a negative avian influenza test and a permit issued by the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH). Because the tests must be completed within 24 hours of the movement, many commercial egg farms had to be tested daily in order to continue to move products. Since Jan. 15, the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University has run more than 4,300 avian influenza tests.
All farms consistently tested negative throughout the 38-day period, which allowed BOAH to lift the control area, based on guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In addition to the initial farm infected with HPAI strain H7N8, a low-pathogenic strain of the avian influenza virus was identified on another nine nearby commercial turkey farms. All were depopulated, as prescribed by USDA, as was a non-infected commercial layer farm that was considered a dangerous contact premises. Quarantines remain on all of those sites until specific cleaning and disinfection requirements are finished.
As an extra measure of caution, BOAH imposed a surveillance zone with the same testing requirements (but without the required permit) on commercial operations in an additional 6.2-mile (10 km) surveillance zone. Those requirements also were lifted Feb. 22.
"We are pleased to be where we are today, just 38 days after HPAI was identified in Dubois County," Indiana state veterinarian Dr. Bret D. Marsh said. "This is an unprecedented event for the state of Indiana, and the level of cooperation and response at all levels has been incredible. The BOAH team and I are grateful for the hard work of our local, state, federal and industry partners who came together to bring this event to a close."
Avian influenza poses no food safety threat. Poultry meat and eggs are safe to eat.