NE Department Of Agriculture Reports Third Case Of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Avian Flu (Getty Images)

(KFOR NEWS  march 25, 2022)   LINCOLN – The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing a third confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

The third farm, a flock of 400,000 broilers, is in Butler County (referred to as Butler County 2) and is located within the 6.2-mile control zone that NDA established around the farm announced earlier this week (now referred to as Butler County 1). The first farm in Nebraska to report a case of HPAI was a backyard flock in Merrick County that was announced on March 16, 2022.

“The locations of the Butler County farms are in close proximity to each other. This further emphasizes continued diligence of biosecurity and timely response to control this highly contagious disease,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman.

Butler County 2 is under NDA quarantine and the birds will be humanely depopulated and disposed of in an approved manner. Additionally, NDA will be establishing a 6.2-mile control zone around the infected premises. Premises with poultry that fall within that control zone will not be allowed to move birds or poultry products on or off their premises without permits from NDA. These producers should also know the signs and symptoms of HPAI and notify NDA immediately of sick or dying poultry.

Current Status of Impacted Farms

Location Flock Size Flock Type Depopulation Disposal Method
Merrick County Small (100 birds or under) Mixed – Chicken / Waterfowl Completed Incineration completed
Butler County – 1 570,000 Broilers Completed Compost in progress
Butler County – 2 400,000 Broilers In-progress N/A at this time

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. Wild birds can carry the virus without becoming sick, while domesticated birds can become very sick.

Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: a decrease in water consumption; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing any other symptoms. HPAI can survive for weeks in contaminated environments.

Poultry owners should report unusual poultry bird deaths or sick birds to NDA at 402-471-2351, or through USDA at 866-536-7593.

Enhanced biosecurity helps prevent the introduction and spread of viruses and diseases including HPAI. NDA and USDA have resources available to help poultry owners step up their biosecurity efforts.

  • Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases like HPAI. Be on the lookout for unusual signs of behavior, severe illness and/or sudden deaths.
  • Restrict access to your property and poultry.
  • Keep it clean. Wear clean clothes, scrub boots/shoes with disinfectant and wash hands thoroughly before and after contact with your flock.
  • If you, your employees or family have been on other farms, or other places where there is livestock and/or poultry, clean and disinfect your vehicle tires and equipment before returning home.
  • Don’t share equipment, tools, or other supplies with other livestock or poultry owners.
  • In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, making sure wild birds cannot access domestic poultry’s feed and water sources.
  • Report sick birds immediately to: NDA at 402-471-2351; the USDA at 866-536-7593; or your veterinarian. Early detection is important to prevent the spread of disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk to people getting HPAI infections from birds is low. No human cases of avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

All poultry entering Nebraska must be accompanied by a VS form 9-3 or Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI, or health certificate). If you are considering moving an animal into Nebraska from an affected state, please call 402-471-2351 to learn more. Nebraska poultry owners wanting to ship poultry out of state should consult the state veterinarians of the destination states for import requirements.

For more information about avian influenza, visit NDA’s website at https://nda.nebraska.gov/animal/avian/index.html or the USDA’s website https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov

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