Bird flu outbreaks detected in Kentucky and Virginia, USDA confirms

An avian flu strain deadly to chickens and other fowl has been detected in two additional states, federal regulators confirmed Monday.

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The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service stated in a news release that the “highly pathogenic” strain has been found in a flock of commercial broiler chickens in Fulton County, Kentucky, and a backyard flock of mixed-species birds in Fauquier County, Virginia.

Monday’s news comes just days after nearly 30,000 turkeys on a southern Indiana farm were euthanized after the H5N1 strain of avian flu was detected within the flock and only weeks after the USDA detected the strain in several states along the Atlantic Flyway, a major path for migratory birds in North America.

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Birds in the Kentucky and Virginia flocks have been quarantined and will be killed, the inspection service stated, noting that no human cases of the virus have been detected in the United States.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these avian influenza detections do not present an immediate public health concern, the USDA stated.

A serious U.S. outbreak of bird flu in 2014-2015 killed more than 50 million chickens and turkeys, costing the U.S. economy an estimated $3.3 billion in losses, Bloomberg reported, citing a USDA assessment.

Avian influenza type A typically spreads among birds and poultry and does not transmit to humans in most cases, according to the CDC.