Bird flu confirmed in chicken flock in southeastern Missouri

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Federal inspectors have confirmed the presence of bird flu in a flock of commercial broiler chickens in southeastern Missouri’s Stoddard County.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the development in a news release Friday. The agency said samples from the flock were tested at the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at a USDA veterinary lab in Ames, Iowa.

Missouri officials have quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the properties will be killed and disposed of to prevent the spread of the disease, the USDA said.

The announcement comes nearly a month after the discovery of the highly contagious virus in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana and only days after it was detected in a backyard flock of chickens and ducks in western Iowa.

Avian influenza is an airborne respiratory virus that spreads easily among chickens through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can spread from flock to flock by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the recent bird flu detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.