Ohio: Poultry from bird flu states banned from state fair

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Poultry from states where a deadly bird flu virus has surfaced won't be permitted at this year's Ohio State Fair, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The agency also warned the fair's poultry show may be canceled altogether if the outbreak gets worse, The Columbus Dispatch reported (http://bit.ly/1H6BEak ).

Department spokeswoman Erica Hawkins said the fair's situation is evolving and agriculture officials are focused on preventing the H5 avian flu from coming to Ohio.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on a poultry vaccine for two deadly strains of the virus, one of which was confirmed Monday in Indiana. The virus also has been found in 15 other states, including California, Arkansas, Idaho and Kansas.

Ohio officials are encouraging all county and independent fairs to also prohibit poultry entries from states with the avian flu. The junior fair poultry show had 903 poultry entries from 167 exhibitors last year, and the open competition had 2,805 entries from 47 exhibitors.

Virgil Strickler, manager of the Ohio State Fair, said he'll follow the agency's recommendations regarding the flu, but he hopes the poultry shows aren't canceled.

"We will not have a show if they feel we shouldn't," he said. "But it would hurt not to see that here."

The H5 outbreak is the largest-ever avian flu outbreak in the United States. As of Thursday, 33 million birds, including 25 million in Iowa, have either died or been killed to prevent the flu's spread.

The flu hasn't been linked to human illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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