The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed the first case of the deadly bird flu virus H5N2 in Nebraska, on an egg farm in Dixon County, officials announced on Tuesday, May 12.
Days earlier, two farms in the bordering state of Iowa tested positive for the presence of H5N2, necessitating the loss of 4 million egg-laying chickens. Minnesota and Wisconsin have also experienced considerable losses from the disease, though Iowa has been the hardest hit, with an estimated loss of 25 million birds. Since March, total losses have exceeded 30 million birds across 14 states including this first case for Nebraska.
“Unfortunately, Nebraska has joined a long list of states currently dealing with highly pathogenic avian influenza,” Nebraska Agriculture Department Director Greg Ibach confirmed to The Associated Press. “The goal is to quarantine the flock and attempt to control and contain the virus as quickly as possible.”
In late April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the development of a human vaccine for the bird flu was underway, though no infected birds have yet to enter the food system. Officials maintain that risk to humans remains low, despite the cost to the poultry industry.