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Thousands of Utah turkeys die after being infected with avian flu, officials say

By Melanie Porter

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    SANPETE COUNTY, Utah (KSTU) — Officials report that thousands of turkeys have died at a farm in Sanpete County after being infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza.

In total, 142,000 turkeys had to be killed or died from the disease, officials told FOX 13 News.

Calling the situation “unfortunate” the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food confirmed the illness on Friday, October 6.

The area where the infected birds lived was quarantined and the birds were “depopulated” to prevent further spread of the disease, officials said.

Only one farm has been impacted so far and officials report it’s too early to tell if the disease will have an effect on turkey sales during the upcoming holiday.

Now, local and federal teams are testing areas around the impacted flock to ensure the disease hasn’t spread.

“It is unfortunate to see new cases of Avian Flu in Utah again this year and affecting Utah’s turkey farmers,” said UDAF State Veterinarian, Daniel Christensen in a statement. “Our department is working hard to help this farm handle this situation as quickly and safely as possible.”

Avian flu does not present a public health concern right now as no human cases of the current strain have been detected in America, officials explained. It’s important that consumers properly cook poultry and eggs as a general safety precaution.

Bird owners in Sanpete County are asked to keep a vigilant eye on flocks for any signs of avian flu. Symptoms include high death loss among flocks, nasal discharge, decreased appetite and lack of coordination.

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