OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Avian influenza outbreak takes thousands of turkeys off the shelf this Thanksgiving

Oct 10, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: Oct 11, 2023, 9:16 am

Thousands of turkeys were depopulated due to a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak....

Thousands of turkeys were depopulated due to a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Thousands of turkeys were just about ready to go to market for Thanksgiving before being diagnosed with avian influenza, HPAI, on a farm in Sanpete County. 

The highly pathogenic disease hit the farm for a second year, causing the death of 142,000 birds.

Bailee Woolstenhume with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, UDAF, said the turkeys were killed to prevent the disease from spreading. 

“It is very painful, and a lot of suffering for those birds. So the depopulation is to prevent further suffering to the birds, as well as stop the spread of the disease,” Woolstenhume said.

The UDAF confirmed the diagnosis on Friday. In a release, UDAF said the area where the birds were located has since been quarantined. 

Luckily, no other farms in the county have reported an outbreak, according to Woolstenhulme. 

UDAF asked those with birds in Sanpete County to watch for symptoms of HPAI within their flock. 

Symptoms to look out for include high numbers of death among flocks, nasal discharge, decreased appetite or water consumption, and lack of coordination. Immediately contact the state veterinarian’s office if you notice birds experiencing symptoms. 

Furthermore, UDAF encouraged anyone involved with poultry production to review their biosecurity activities to ensure the health of their birds. 

The detected strain of HPAI does not pose a threat to the public and no human cases have been detected. 

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Avian influenza outbreak takes thousands of turkeys off the shelf this Thanksgiving