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South Dakota up to 32 avian influenza cases

New cases of avian influenza continue to strike South Dakota.  Dr. Mendel Miller with the South Dakota Animal Industry Board tells Brownfield there have been ten new cases in the past week, bringing the state’s total number of affected farms to 32, and only one is a backyard flock. “A mix, mostly turkeys but a mixture.”

Mendel says the state and USDA response teams have been outstanding, and he says the producers are doing everything they can to prevent the illness but wonder where it will strike next. “It’s really hard for anybody that raises livestock, and poultry in this case. They take good care of their flock. They want them to be healthy and they want to do a good job, and just to have that wiped out in an instant is really, really tough on everybody.”

Mendel says so far, the South Dakota has depopulated about 1.3 million birds

States including Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, New York, and North Carolina have banned poultry shows and exhibits for now, but not South Dakota. “We certainly are discouraging it. We haven’t banned it. I think the poultry industry in South Dakota understands the risks and (they) have done a really good job themselves to do the things that they need to do, so that’s certainly something that we’ve talked about and considered but we have not joined that list yet.”

Mendel is hoping for a stretch of warm weather to help knock down the avian influenza virus, but he says the forecast doesn’t look very good right now.

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