Just a day after Indiana reported the presence of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza (HPAI) in a backyard mixed-poultry flock in Whitley County, The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial layer flock in Dixon County, Nebraska.  The flock of 1.7 million chickens is located within the Central flyway where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified.

Public domain image/Ben Rudiak-Gould
Public domain image/Ben Rudiak-Gould

This makes Nebraska the 2oth state to report the presence of avian influenza.

APHIS is working closely with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

According to University of Illinois researchers, this years outbreak of avian flu in the United States is the largest recorded.

The current 2014-15 outbreak exceeds the previous 1983 record of 17 million birds by some 9 million and counting.

Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus which can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl) and is carried by free flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds.