Home USA News Bird flu killed 1.8 million chickens in Nebraska

Bird flu killed 1.8 million chickens in Nebraska

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska agriculture officials say 1.8 million more chickens need to be killed after the discovery of bird flu on a farm, a sign that an outbreak that has already killed more than 50 million birds nationwide country, continues to spread.

The state’s 13th case of bird flu has been found at an egg-laying farm in northeastern Nebraska’s Dixon County, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) north of Omaha, Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture said Saturday.

As with other farms where bird flu has been found this year, all chickens at the Nebraska farm will be killed to limit the spread of the disease. The USDA says more than 52.3 million birds in 46 states — mostly chickens and turkeys on commercial farms — have been killed in this year’s outbreak.

Nebraska is second only to Iowa’s 15.5 million birds killed, with 6.8 million birds affected on 13 farms.

In most past bird flu outbreaks, the virus mostly died off over the summer, but this year’s version found a way to stick around and began a resurgence this fall, killing more than 6 million birds in September.

The virus is mainly spread by wild birds during migration across the country. Wild birds often carry the disease without showing symptoms. The virus is spread through droppings or nasal secretions from an infected bird, which can contaminate dust and soil.

Commercial farms have taken a number of measures to prevent the virus from infecting their herds, including requiring workers to change clothes before entering barns and disinfecting trucks when they enter the farm, but the disease can be difficult to control. Zoos have also taken precautions and closed some exhibits to protect their birds.

Officials say the virus is extremely rare and that infected birds are not allowed to enter the country’s food supply. Also, any viruses will be killed by properly cooking the bird at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

But the outbreak of avian flu has sent chicken and turkey prices soaring, along with skyrocketing feed and fuel costs.

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