Market News & Headlines >> Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu Reported in Indiana

USDA on Wednesday reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, more commonly known as bird flu, in an Indiana turkey flock, the nation's first case in a commercial poultry operation since 2020.

Bird flu does not present an immediate public health concern, the USDA said. However, the disease could result in poultry losses and could hurt U.S. poultry exports. Mexico’s agriculture ministry said on Thursday that it will ban imports of poultry products coming from Indiana.

About 29,000 turkeys at a farm in Dubois County in southern Indiana were being culled to contain the outbreak, which was confirmed after 100 birds recently died, state officials said.

Indiana officials said the strain of the virus was H5N1 and that it was the state's first case of highly pathogenic bird flu in commercial poultry since 2016, when 400,000 birds were culled. The H5N1 strain has also been found in wild birds along the U.S. East Coast and has caused a wave of outbreaks in poultry across Europe and Asia.

The outbreak in Indiana is significant because it indicates the strain has entered the Mississippi Flyway, a major migratory pathway for birds, Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council told Reuters News Service. The pathway includes major poultry-producing states such as Mississippi and Alabama.

A bird flu outbreak that occurred in the spring of 2015 is the largest U.S. animal disease outbreak on record. More that 50 million birds either died from the disease or were destroyed to prevent its spread. The outbreak, which was largely of the H5N2 strain, resulted in an estimated loss to the U.S. economy of more than $3 billion.