In the worst avian flu to hit the United States in recent times, states such as Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota have declared a state of emergency to contain the spread of the bird flu – with Nebraska joining the initiative on Thursday to rid the state of the avian flu virus.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts declared the state of emergency after officials of the federal agriculture department established that a second poultry farm in the state has contracted the dreaded flu which had necessitated the culling of over 33 million chickens and turkeys in the US.
Nebraska state government is now looking into releasing emergency funds to the state department of agriculture to combat the H5N2 virus strain from spreading further afield, and other health agencies have also been sensitized to help contain the bird flu epidemic.
Although several people naturally fear infection from this strain of avian flu, health authorities state there is nothing really to fear, and no cases of human infection has been confirmed anywhere so far.
Apart from the first unnamed poultry confirmed to test positive to the bird flu in Nebraska, another containing 1.8 million layers in Dixon County is feared to stand a chance of contracting the bird infection according to state health officials. Incidentally, both poultry farms are owned by the same management.
“Having a second farm in Nebraska confirmed to have HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) is unfortunate but not completely unexpected,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach. “This follows the pattern we’ve seen in other states when it comes to the spread of the virus,” he added.
State agricultural officials have taken preventative measures to quarantine the second poultry farm to prevent any spread from the first farm, and birds within a 6.2 mile radius of the first farm will be tested to determine their state of health. State officials however pray that the contagious bird flu would subside in spring.