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AI Situation Update 2/18/16

State of Indiana Response to Avian Flu in Dubois County2/18/16

New information is in bold italics.


On January 15, it was announced that a confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza was found in Dubois County. State, local and federal agencies are working together on containment and depopulation operations. On January 16, nine additional avian influenza detections were announced, with the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirming on January 17 that eight flocks have been confirmed as low pathogenic avian influenza. The suspect-positive result on the ninth premises could not be confirmed by laboratory testing. More information on the ninth positive could not be confirmed through the original testing, and more in-depth testing is being conducted at the USDA National Services Laboratory.

A 10-kilometer control area has been established, primarily in Dubois County. An extension of an extra 10-kilomenter "surveillance zone," beyond the 10-km control zone, has been put in place as a precaution. The surveillance zone includes parts of Crawford, Daviess, Martin and Orange counties. All infected sites were in Dubois County.


There have been no new positive tests since January 16, but aggressive testing continues inside the 10-km control area and additional 10-km surveillance zone. All commercial poultry farms located in the control area and the surveillance zone have completed at multiple rounds of negative tests. Testing will continue within the control and surveillance zone to ensure that no H7N8 remains in the area.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health expects to release the 10-km control area and the additional 10-km surveillance zone on Monday, Feb. 22, provided no new HPAI positives are identified. This date marks the end of a 21-day fallow period, as prescribed by USDA, following the establishment of all compost piles. Once the control area and surveillance zones are released, restrictions on movements of all poultry and products (commercial and residential) on all non-infected sites will be lifted by the Indiana State Veterinarian. Quarantines will continue on the infected sites until final site-cleanup requirements are met.

Birds have been depopulated on all ten premises. Turkeys are being composted in the buildings in which they were euthanized. The composting process takes about four weeks, after which time, the compost can be used agriculturally because it will not contain the virus. Compost piles will continue to be monitored closely for proper temperature until the process ends.

An additional 156,000 hens (chickens) that were NOT infected with H7N8 have been depopulated and disposed of in a landfill. The facility was considered a "dangerous contact" to an infected turkey flock. The laying facility is located very close to an infected barn and shares a vehicular traffic zone with the original site, putting the birds at high risk of contracting the virus. No chickens are infected.

Previous depopulation tallies have been based on estimated flock sizes. Final reporting has been completed on all sites, with 258,045 turkeys and 156,178 chickens affected.

State and federal teams have visited 1,945 residences in a 10-kilometer radius control area around the original site to search for small, backyard flocks of birds for precautionary monitoring and testing. The second round of testing of the 100 backyard flocks was completed on Saturday February 13, 2016. All tests were negative. This fulfills the testing requirements of a second negative test on all backyard flocks prior to the release of the 10-km control area.

Permitted movements of birds and products continue into and out of the control area. To date, BOAH has issued 688 permits. All permits must be associated with a negative avian influenza test within 24 hours of issuance. Permits will continue until the control area is released.

The Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University has run more than 2,100 avian flu tests since this incident began. (All negative to date; testing continues daily.)

Testing and surveillance of wild, migratory birds in the region is being done by Indiana Department of Natural Resources and USDA Wildlife Services.

Several mental health treatment options are available to those affected:

  • Phone hotline offered by Southern Hills Counseling Center in Jasper, at 812-482-3020. If the call is made after hours, the caller should press 0.
  • A 24-hour phone hotline through Memorial Hospital and Healthcare Center, at 812-827-6222.


The USDA-Veterinary Services Incident Management Team has handed-off remaining tasks and responsibilities to BOAH entirely, as they transition out of Dubois County this week. USDA will maintain a presence with minimal staff to oversee finance and composting activities. BOAH and Indiana-based USDA staff will continue to work directly with affected producers, while general incident management activities will shift to BOAH offices in Indianapolis through the end of this event.

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.