South Dakota officials euthanize 85K birds amid avian flu outbreak | Agriculture news

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) — State officials in South Dakota have euthanized 85,000 birds in hopes of containing an avian flu outbreak at two factory farms.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported that the outbreaks occurred at farms in Charles Mix County in the southeastern portion of the state. The disease was found in turkeys at the facilities although other poultry in close contact with the turkeys were euthanized as well.

Assistant State Veterinarian Mendell Miller said the state doesn’t release the names of facilities experiencing outbreaks. Miller said two other sites are under investigation for possible avian flu. Those counties will be identified if tests come back positive.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been reporting avian flu in wild birds, commercial facilities and backyard coops in multiple states since January. The first case was reported in South Dakota on March 6.

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North Dakota State Veterinarian Dr. Ethan Andress has urged poultry owners in the state to increase biosecurity efforts such as restricting access to property, keeping wild birds away from poultry, washing hands before and after handling wild and domesticated birds, and using gloves and other protective gear when handling live birds.

There are nine turkey farms in North Dakota that produce about 1 million birds annually, according to the state Agriculture Department. The agency’s Animal Health Division offers help with surveillance for disease such as bird flu. Poultry owners also are asked to immediately report unusual death loss, a drop in egg production or any sick birds to their local vet.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said North Dakota had two cases of bird flu in 2015, in Dickey and LaMoure counties, affecting more than 100,00 birds.

For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

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