- Associated Press - Sunday, May 3, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Department of Agriculture is working with businesses, zoos and bird owners to reduce the risk of bird flu.

In a news release, Agriculture Director Philip Nelson says the department is calling on everyone involved with birds to work together to help the poultry industry.

The deadly bird flu virus has spread rapidly in many states in the Midwest, where losses are expected to exceed 20 million turkeys and chickens.

Officials say no cases have been detected in Illinois to date.

The virus affects captive and wild birds and commercial and backyard poultry.

State Veterinarian Dr. Mark Ernst says it’s important for zoos and poultry producers to take steps to prevent disease. That includes not exposing poultry to wild birds, especially waterfowl, and limiting who may enter poultry facilities.

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