Domestic Birds Test Positive for Bird Flu in Nebraska

March 16, 2022, 12:23 p.m. ·

Chickens lined up in metal cages with a trough for eggs below each row of chickens.
Poultry and egg-laying operations throughout the Midwest are combating the spread of avian flu. (Photo by Kathleen Masterson, Harvest Public Media)

Avian flu has been found in the state, this time in domestic birds. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) detected the highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI) in Merrick County – northeast of Grand Island.

NDA said the farm has quarantined infected birds and will "humanely depopulate and dispose" of the birds.

The Department of Agriculture established a surveillance zone within 6.2 miles of the infected flock. Anyone with poultry in the area should be on high alert. Knowing the warning signs of disease, restricting access to poultry farms, and keeping equipment clean are a couple ways poultry farmers can stop the bird flu from reaching their flock.

Although the Centers for Disease Control say disease isn't typically harmful to humans, chickens and other domesticated birds get extremely sick from HPAI. A decrease in water consumption, decreased egg production, and coughing are some of the symptoms that indicate bird flu.

Ag Director Steve Wellman said in a statement Nebraska has now joined a long list of states with bird flu.

The latest development is the first case in Nebraska’s domestic birds. Wild birds tested positive for the disease last week in Lincoln. State officials also detected other cases in wild animals in northeastern Cedar County and Douglas County.

These are the first cases in Nebraska since 2015 when the bird flu killed 50 million chickens and turkeys in the U.S.