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STATEWIDE — The H5 avian flu made it’s way to Indiana in February, but it’s proven itself a grave problem across the country. But in the months since the flu was discovered, some people believe it’s all a giant conspiracy theory.

“The main thing I can say about this whole idea is wow, just wow,” says Denise Spears, Public Info Director with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

Some people have spread their theories online to social media web sites like Reddit and Facebook. There are claims that the flu is genetically manufactured COVID-19 for chickens, a result of 5G cell towers, or simply a hoax. But it’s very real for farmers and hobby flock owners, says Spears.

“This situation is very serious, it’s very real,” Spears continues, “especially for eleven Indiana families. Two families have lost their backyard hobby flocks, but the other nine have actually lost their livelihood.”

There are also online claims that the birds are tested using PCR tests, and that is reason enough for this being a hoax illness.

That’s not the case, says Spears, “PCR test is a standardized test that’s used for many, many different types of diagnosis, not just for flu diagnosis. It is something that’s used in this situation. It looks for DNA fragments that [indicate] there’s been exposure. It’s a standardized test that’s used for many things, and that’s not a reason to doubt that we actually have flu diagnosis.”

Spears says it’s important for people to remember that this outbreak is something they [State Board of Animal Health] have a lot of control over because most cases are tied directly to wild birds.

The last H5 avian flu outbreak in Indiana was back in 2016. In 2015, over 38-million birds were infected with the flu. Spears says as of May 19th, 2022, Indiana is mostly in good shape. She says the upper-Midwest portions of the United States are still being hit hard by the flu, especially Minnesota.