The Bird Flu Outbreak: Time To Worry?

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3.8 million Chickens at a northwest Iowa farm are being killed after testing positive for the highly infected and deadly bird flu.

The avian flu crisis continues for poultry producers throughout the Midwest and here in South Dakota.

It’s the largest bird flu outbreak in U.S. poultry history. And the Iowa infection has poultry farms in eastern South Dakota bracing for the worst.

“It has hit South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and more,” said Scott Ramsdell, Dakota Layers CEO.

The bird flu strain H5N2 has been reported in poultry farms in at least 12 states.

“Anything such as this, you never plan for it and there’s no way that you come out of it the way you went into it,” said Ramsdell.

CEO of Dakota Layers Scott Ramsdell says the recent outbreaks have greatly impacted his poultry farm in Flandreau.

“We’ve increased our security ten-fold than what we were before,” said Ramsdell.

“Moon suits,” tire washes and gate attendants are just a few of the things Ramsdell has added to his biosecurity.

“It’s pretty intense and extreme what we’re trying to do to prevent the potentials,” said Ramsdell.

But Ramsdell says it’s all worth it if it saves his 1.3 million birds.

“I think that the biggest concern is for the producers and how devastating it is to them if they’re going to lose all of their livestock,” said Ramsdell.

Poultry producers aren’t the only concerned about the bird flu outbreak….

“The consumer, the first thing they think about is the safety of the egg,” said Ramsdell.

Ramsdell says he has no concerns health-wise of catching the HRN2 virus.

He says to his knowledge and the industries’ knowledge, the bird flu cannot be passed between the animal and a human.

Ramsdell says it’s too early to predict the impact on prices of meat and eggs. But he says if they were to go up, it’d only be a small amount.

The bird flu strain has also been confirmed at a sixth commercial turkey farm in Redfield, which houses 33,000 birds.

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