Although tests in the Dubois County, Ind., avian influenza incident continue to prove negative, much more work must still be completed before this event can be considered over, according to Indiana state veterinarian Dr. Bret D. Marsh.
“We are optimistic with each day that yields more negative flock tests, but we are mindful that the situation could change and that continued testing and surveillance are the vitally important next steps that will be ongoing for a few weeks,” Marsh said.
Weekly testing and monitoring of commercial poultry farms in the 10 km control area will continue for several weeks as Indiana moves through the process to be declared avian flu-free. Indiana established an additional 10 km surveillance zone with aggressive testing requirements to assure the industry and partners that the disease is not present. Birds and eggs may be moved into and out of the control area only after negative testing.
Additionally, state and federal teams have visited 1,935 residences in the 10 km control area to identify small and backyard flocks for testing. Tests of those 96 identified flocks, which are nearly completed, all have been negative. After initial testing, these flocks will be retested in 14 days.
“The State Board of Animal Health continues our resolve to eliminate this virus wherever it is found,” Marsh said. “We know this virus is unpredictable, and it can pop up again. So, reporting bird illness and maintaining high biosecurity is vital to protecting Indiana poultry.”
Depopulation of the affected farms concluded the evening of Jan. 20. Disposal of the turkeys, via indoor composting, will be followed by thorough cleaning and disinfection of all barns on the 10 infected sites.
“The cooperation and diligence of the affected farmers have been vital to this response, and we encourage all Hoosiers to stay the course as this work continues,” Marsh said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”