Bird flu has returned to the Midwest, with the announcement Friday that a highly pathogenic H7N8 was found in an Indiana turkey farm, forcing the killing of 60,000 birds. Since then, theUSDA reported that another nine cases of avian flu have been detected near the same area, although eight of those are low pathogenic and the ninth is still being tested.
Here’s what you should know:
1.) Is this a big deal?
Although this outbreak is so far relatively small – about 400,000 birds will be destroyed – it is a concern because of last year’s devastating avian flu outbreak in the upper Midwest. That crisis, the worst outbreak of bird flu ever reported in North America, ultimately claimed 48 million birds and sent egg prices soaring. But it was a different strain of the virus, named H5N8.
2.) Why has it returned to Indiana?
No one yet knows or has made any announcements, but USDA and other scientists are researching the virus and may know more this week. Last year, it was blamed on wild birds during spring migration after an initial outbreak in Washington state.
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