9,000 Hens Killed After Latest Missouri Case Of Avian Flu

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nearly 9,000 laying hens in Webster County were killed after federal officials confirmed an outbreak of bird flu in the flock, state agriculture officials said.

It is the 11th case of the highly contagious avian influenza in Missouri this year, involving nearly 435,000 birds on six commercial farms and four backyard flocks, the Missouri Department of Agriculture said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says more than 52.3 million birds — mostly chickens and turkeys on domestic farms — have been killed in 46 states as part of this year’s outbreak.

On Saturday, Nebraska agriculture officials announced another 1.8 million chickens were to be slaughtered on a farm in northeast Nebraska. About 6.8 million birds have been killed in the state this year after the disease was found on 13 farms. That's second only to Iowa’s 15.5 million birds killed.

Federal health officials say the disease does not present a food safety risk to humans.

The farm in Webster County was quarantined and the birds were euthanized on the property, Missouri agriculture officials said. State and federal agriculture officials are conducting additional surveillance and testing in the areas around the affected flock.