New Bird Flu Strain Found at More Indiana Farms

A new type of bird flu found at one Indiana poultry farm has been found at nine others, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said Saturday.

But on Sunday they said testing showed it wasn't a dangerous form of the virus called highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Instead, the strain at the nine new farms is low-pathogenic -- a type that doesn't make the birds sick.

In both cases, the new strain's called H7N8 and it's never been a problem in poultry flocks before.

Last year's multiple outbreaks of a highly pathogenic strain called H5N2 forced the slaughter of 48 million birds and drove up egg process for months.

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"These new cases were identified as part of surveillance testing in the control area surrounding the initial highly pathogenic avian influenza case. Testing is currently ongoing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa to determine the pathogenicity of these new cases," the USDA said.

"No cases of HPAI H7N8 virus infection have been reported in humans at this time, and no human infections associated with avian influenza A viruses of this particular subtype (i.e., H7N8) have ever been reported," the department said.

Cooked meat and eggs do not spread the virus.

USDA said it appears the low-pathogenic strain of H7N8 has been circulating among flocks and had somehow mutated into a highly pathogenic form that affected the first farm. Highly pathogenic avian influenzas can sweep through turkey and chicken flocks, killing them in days or hours.

They can occasionally infect people, too.