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AI Situation Update 1/18/16

State of Indiana Response to Avian Flu in Dubois County

New information is in bold italics


Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) and U.S. Department of Agriculture teams have visited 900-plus residences in a 10-kilometer radius "control area" around the original site to identify small, "backyard" flocks of birds for precautionary monitoring and testing. To date, 27 such flocks have been identified. These efforts will continue.

Indiana State Veterinarian Bret D. Marsh, DVM, today announced the addition of an extra 10-kilomenter "surveillance zone," beyond the 10-km control area. This is an added precaution to ensure the region is influenza-free.  ("Kilometers" are used rather than "miles" because of international standardization protocols for such situations.)

There are 155,000 egg-laying chickens ("layers") that are NOT infected, but are being depopulated and disposed of via landfill because the facility is considered a "dangerous contact" to an infected turkey flock. The laying facility is located very close to an infected barn, putting the birds at high risk of contracting the disease. These chickens do not have influenza. This brings the total number of birds affected to 401,163.

Depopulation efforts continue, although hampered by the extreme cold temperatures, which cause water sources to freeze. Currently, depopulation has been completed at six of the 10 turkey flocks. Work continues on the remaining four, as well as the newly added layer facility. Euthanized turkeys are being composted in the buildings in which they were housed. The composting process takes about 30 days, after which time, the remaining material can be used agriculturally because it will not contain the virus.

Control area flock tests continue to come back with NEGATIVE results, meaning no virus was detected. In the last 24 hours, 221 tests have been submitted.

The Indiana State Department of Health is working with the Dubois County Health Department to monitor the health of workers who have had contact with infected birds to ensure they are healthy and verify that the H7N8 virus has not transmitted to people.

Mental health services are being provided in Jasper to those who have been affected by the HPAI event. Services are open to anyone and everyone, not just site workers. Daily group sessions are held at the command post during lunch hour, and at the staging area during dinner hour. Services will be provided as long as needed. A mental health treatment hotline, provided by Southern Hills Counseling Center in Jasper, is available by calling:  812-482-3020. If the call is made after hours, the caller needs to press 0.

United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the pathogenicity of eight of the nine H7N8 avian influenza detections announced on January 16. Eight flocks have been confirmed as low pathogenic avian influenza, with additional testing ongoing for the ninth.

There were no new positive tests overnight, but aggressive testing continues inside the 10-km control area. In the last 24 hours, commercial farms have yielded an additional 100 negative tests for avian influenza. State and federal teams have visited 503 residences in the control area to identify any small flocks for testing. Tests are pending on 17 small flocks.

Confirmed cases of Avian Flu have been found in Dubois County. State, local and federal agencies are working together on containment and depopulation operations.

An estimated 119,500 birds have been humanely euthanized on four premises, with another six premises containing approximately 121,400 birds currently underway. The control area is primarily in Dubois County, and has expanded to include parts of Crawford, Daviess, Martin and Orange counties. All infected sites are in Dubois County.


A Unified Incident Command Post (UCP) has been established in Jasper, Indiana. The post is staffed by a state Incident Management Team, along with federal and local partners.

State Agencies supporting activities in the UCP: The Indiana State Board of Animal Health, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Department of Correction, Indiana State Police and mental health services teams from the Family and Social Services Administration.

Other organizations supporting activities in the UCP: United States Department of Agriculture, Indiana University, Dubois County Emergency Management Agency and Dubois County Health Department.

State Emergency Operations Center: Under the leadership of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), the Indiana Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated at Level III and will remain activated 24 hours a day to monitor conditions and provide resource support to local county emergency agencies.

State Agencies supporting activities in the EOC: State Board of Animal Health, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Department of Correction.


The United States Department of Agriculture has approximately 50 representatives, along with private contractors, in Dubois County assisting with state and local efforts.  A National Incident Management Team will be arriving in Indiana this weekend to help coordinate efforts.


Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat. Officials are not aware of any public health significance with this virus. Human infection from an H7 virus is uncommon, but can cause some conjunctivitis and/or upper respiratory tract symptoms. Human health agencies will be monitoring workers and others in contact with birds to monitor for illness.

Backyard poultry owners are encouraged to be aware of the signs of avian influenza and report illness and/or death to the USDA Healthy Birds Hotline:  866-536-7593. Callers will be routed to a state or federal veterinarian in Indiana for a case assessment. Dead birds should be double-bagged and refrigerated for possible testing.

Signs include:  sudden death without clinical signs; lack of energy or appetite; decreased egg production; soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; swelling or purple discoloration of head, eyelids, comb, hocks; nasal discharge; coughing; sneezing; lack of coordination; and diarrhea. A great resource for backyard bird health information is online at:  http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov/.

Situation updates and status reports about ongoing avian influenza activities, along with critical disease-related information, will be posted online at:  www.in.gov/boah/2390.htm. Users may subscribe to email updates on a link at that page.