An Indiana zoo announced on Wednesday that it would be closing a popular exhibit as a precaution to protect its animals from highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The Zoo is Still Open

Mesker Park Zoo, located in Evansville, Indiana, is still open to the public. However, they have closed the Amazonia exhibit for the time being. The public will not be allowed inside the building that houses that particular exhibit as the zoo takes precautions to protect its animals.

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Amazonia Closed to the Public

It is out of an abundance of caution that the zoo closed the exhibit after a positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed in nearby Henderson, Kentucky. Not only is the Amazonia exhibit closed to the public, but all other birds on the property have been put away to protect them from the virus as well, according to a statement made on the zoo's Facebook page.

A positive HPAI case was detected in Henderson ky on Feb 27th. Unfortunately, this does increase our protective measures and Amazonia is now closed to the public for the animals safety. Our staff has tried to keep Amazonia open for the Orchid show, but this new case of HPAI is close enough to the Zoo to increase our protective measures. In addition to Amazonia being closed to visitors, all other birds around the Zoo are being kept inside and may not be seen during your visit.

What Is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Are Humans at Risk?

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, is a type of Influenza virus that poses little threat to humans, according to the CDC. However rare, transmission to humans is possible under certain circumstances.

Direct infection can occur from exposure to saliva, mucous, or feces from infected birds. Bird flu infections among people are rare; however, human infections can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, or is inhaled. People with close or prolonged unprotected contact (not wearing respiratory and eye protection) with infected birds or places that sick birds or their mucous, saliva, or feces have contaminated, might be at greater risk of bird flu virus infection.

There is no word at this time on how long the zoo anticipates the exhibit to remain closed. In the meantime, you can watch the live stream from Mesker Park Zoo's Penguins of Patagonia below.

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