Bird flu forces egg farm to euthanize 3 million chickens

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TOLEDO, Ohio (TBEN) — An outbreak of bird flu that has killed 43 million chickens and turkeys in the US this year has been found in a massive eggplant operation in Ohio, state and federal agricultural officials said Wednesday.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the case confirmed this weekend in Ohio’s Defiance County affected about 3 million chickens. The laying farm has started euthanizing the entire herd, said Dennis Summers, the state veterinarian.

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The highly pathogenic disease has returned to the Midwest earlier than authorities had anticipated after a months-long lull with cases in Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin over the past week. There have also been several detections in western states this summer.

The disease is most commonly transmitted by migrating waterfowl, such as geese and ducks, Summers said. It only occasionally affects people, such as farm workers, and the USDA keeps poultry of infected flocks out of the food supply.

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The outbreak that contributed to a spike in egg and meat prices earlier this year appeared to ease in June, but officials then warned that another surge could come this fall.