Bird Flu Threatens Missouri's Turkey Farms

Mar 13, 2015

Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

 A highly contagious strain of bird flu that was found on two Missouri turkey farms could hurt the state’s poultry industry. 

The virus isn’t dangerous to humans. But Missouri farmers produce more than a billion dollars-worth of turkeys and chickens every year. And the market for exports is big.

When avian flu was first identified in the U-S, China banned all imports of U-S poultry and eggs.

Other countries have banned poultry imports from particular states that have seen the virus. Now we can add Missouri to that list.

Richard Fordyce, the director of the Missouri agriculture department, says regulators are working to get the outbreak under control.

"We hope we have kind of maybe seen the end of it, but it would be impossible to predict what might happen next," Fordyce said. 

Fordyce says many Missouri producers have added additional testing to sniff out the virus more quickly.