Bird flu prompts slaughter of 1.8M chickens in Nebraska
OMAHA. Nebraska Agriculture officials have announced that another 1.8 million chickens will be slaughtered after bird flu was discovered on a Nebraska farm. This is the latest sign that the virus that has already caused the death of more than 50million birds across the country continues to spread.
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture said Saturday that the state’s 13th case of bird flu was found on an egg-laying farm in northeast Nebraska’s Dixon County, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) north of Omaha, Nebraska..
Just like on other farms where bird flu has been found this year, all the chickens on the Nebraska farm will be killed to limit the spread of the disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed that more than 52.3,000,000 birds from 46 states — mostly turkeys and chickens raised on commercial farms — have been killed in this year’s bird flu outbreak.
Nebraska is second only to Iowa’s 15.5 million birds killed with 6.8 million birds now affected at 13 farms.
In the past, bird flu epidemics were mostly over in the summer. However, this year’s outbreak saw 6.8 million birds affected at 52 farms.
The virus is spread mainly by wild birds that migrate across the country. Wild birds can carry the disease even without showing symptoms. The virus can spread through droppings and nasal discharge from infected birds, which can contaminate soil and dust.
Commercial farms have taken a number of steps to prevent the virus from infecting their flocks, including requiring workers to change clothes before entering barns and sanitizing trucks as they enter the farm, but the disease can be difficult to control. To protect their birds, zoos have taken precautions and closed some exhibits. Officials claim there is no risk to human health because human cases are rare and infected birds are not allowed to enter the country’s food supply. Properly cooking poultry to 165 temperatures Fahrenheit will kill any viruses.
But the bird flu epidemic has led to rising chicken and turkey prices, as well as a rise in fuel and feed costs.
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