By Rachael Oatman

REYNOLDSBURG, OHIO — The Ohio Department of Agriculture reported detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a backyard flock in Ashland County and a commercial flock in Defiance County. The outbreak in the commercial flock affected 3 million table egg laying hens, while the backyard flock involved 640 birds.

The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the positive detections on Sept. 3. Samples were first taken at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and later confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

After confirmation, state officials quarantined the affected regions and plan to depopulate birds on the properties in order to prevent spread of the disease. Federal and state officials are surveying areas within 10 kilometers of the affected land and testing nearby flocks.

Not long before the confirmed cases in Ohio, four other states reported HPAI among their flocks, including California, Minnesota, North Dakota and Indiana.

Until recently, Ohio only had one outbreak: a backyard flock consisting of eight birds in Franklin County on March 29.

A total of 39 states and 43.8 million birds have now been affected by HPAI.