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AI situation update 2/4/16

State of Indiana Response to Avian Flu in Dubois County

New information is in bold italics.


On January 15, it was announced that confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza were 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. 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 least two 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 follow 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 three weeks, after which time, the compost can be used agriculturally because it will not contain the virus.

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 258,325 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 105 backyard flocks will commence next week to fulfill their testing requirements prior to the release of the 10-km control area. All small flock samples tested so far have been negative.

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.


A total of 111 state, federal and local responders are working in Dubois County on surveillance and response efforts.

Equipment and resources staged at the Dubois County Fairgrounds have been demobilized. All facilities used on the grounds have been power-washed and disinfected to eliminate any possibility of virus being present. The fairgrounds has been cleared for normal use, and presents no health risk to humans, livestock, pets or birds.

A smaller repository of depopulation equipment has been retained at another location, for rapid response, if needed.


A Unified Incident Command Post (UCP) has been established in Jasper, Indiana. The post has been down-sized to reflect the completion of response activity in the county. The District 10 IMT completed duties on Feb. 1. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health continues to be the lead agency. Other state agencies remain on-call, as needed, through the State Emergency Operations Center, which has returned to normal daily operations.


The United States Department of Agriculture has approximately 81 representatives, along with private contractors, in Dubois County assisting with state and local efforts.  A National Incident Management Team is in place to assist the state of Indiana in final response needs.


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:

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