The Indiana State Board of Animal Health has lifted the last remaining quarantine that was put in place in response to the avian flu outbreak in Dubois County. The board says the state achieved avian flu-free status after recording 90 consecutive days with no new cases.
The virus was initially found January 15 on a commercial turkey farm in Dubois County. Nine other turkey farms were found to also be infected 24 hours after the first diagnosis. Quarantines were put in place on all 10 farms and a more than six-mile control area was put in place to restrict the movements of all poultry and poultry products.
The control area was lifted more than one month later, but the quarantines remained in place for nine of the turkey farms. For a quarantine to be lifted, the farms must dispose of the birds, then clean and disinfect their facilities which must sit idle for 21 days. Then, environmental testing must so no virus is present.
"In hindsight, we feel we got ahead of this virus by testing neighboring farms the first day," said State Veterinarian Bret Marsh. "The discovery of so many AI-positive sites—nine—in one day was unheard of, even at the height of the 2015 event. Our teams in the field had to scale-up, overnight. But we did it, and completed the task, in 38 days."
Animal health officials stated from the start that the disease posed no food safety threat. Purdue University Agricultural Economist Philip Paarlberg told Inside INdiana Business in January would have more of an effect on the local economy in Dubois County.
The BOAH says it will continue to work with the poultry industry to prevent another case of the avian flu and to plan for any future response. Officials plan to test the flocks of the affected farms as they are restocked.