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Bird flu found in Nebraska so 570,000 chickens to be killed

March 22, 2022 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska agriculture officials say 570,000 broiler chickens will be slaughtered after bird flu was confirmed in the flock.

The state Agriculture Department said Tuesday that avian influenza had been confirmed at a commercial operation in Butler County in eastern Nebraska. Several cases of the disease have been confirmed in the state since bird flu started spreading across the country earlier this year.

This latest announcement from Nebraska officials means more than 13 million chickens and turkeys in at least eight states have been killed or will be destroyed soon. The first infection this year was identified in a commercial flock of turkeys in Indiana on Feb. 9.

Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman said it is unfortunate that another case of bird flu has been confirmed in the state but it’s not completely unexpected with the highly contagious disease.

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Officials believe that the airborne virus is being spread primarily by wild birds although it can also be spread through contact with infected poultry, by equipment or on the clothing of caretakers.

Nebraska officials said the affected farm contacted the state after the number of bird deaths on their farm increased. All other farms within 6.2 miles of the infected operation will be quarantined and producers will monitor their flocks closely for any signs of the illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the recent cases in birds do not present an immediate public health concern to humans.