On Wednesday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed a highly virulent avian flu epidemic in an Indiana turkey flock, the country’s first instance in a commercial poultry farm since 2020. Importers reacted quickly to the outbreak, hoping to contain the spread of avian flu. According to the USDA’s website, China and Korea have banned non-heated poultry meat from Indiana, while Taiwan has placed restrictions on poultry meat and egg products from the state.
The virus strain was H5N1, and it was Indiana first occurrence of highly deadly bird flu in commercial poultry since 400,000 birds were killed in 2016. The H5N1 virus has been discovered in wild birds along the East Coast of the United States and has generated a wave of epidemics in poultry across Europe and Asia.
The trade restrictions and loss of poultry due to the disease constitute a blow to the US farm economy, even if they are limited. According to the USDA, avian flu does not represent a health risk to humans right now. The Indiana epidemic is significant because it implies that the strain has entered the Mississippi Flyway, which encompasses major poultry-producing areas like Mississippi, according to Sumner.