OMAHA, Neb. (AP & KMTV) — Two cases of bird flu have been confirmed in U.S. zoos, but officials said they won’t order widespread euthanasia of zoo birds the way they have on farms.
Agriculture Department spokesman Mike Stepien declined to release any details about the zoo cases Thursday.
Many zoos across the country have closed down their aviaries and moved birds inside whenever possible to help protect them from bird flu that officials believe is primarily being spread by the droppings of wild birds. Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium closed its Simmons Aviary nearly 1.5 months ago on March 6 when avian influenza was discovered in neighboring Pottawattamie County.
Nearly 27 million chickens and turkeys have been slaughtered in 26 states to limit the spread of bird flu during this year’s outbreak. Officials order entire flocks to be killed when the disease is found on farms. On Wednesday, bird flu was discovered in Nebraska's Dixon County and became the state's biggest flock to be contaminated this year. 1.7 million egg-laying hens were ordered to be depopulated, nearly triple the size of the previous-largest flock to be killed.