Alabama Reports Three Cases of Bird Flu in Poultry

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Alabama Reports Three Cases of Bird Flu in Poultry

Officials confirmed this particular strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is the same that affected a commercial chicken flock earlier this month in Lincoln County. Samples from both cases have been sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Iowa and are being tested to determine whether the virus is in fact bird flu, and if a greater risk of contagion is possible.

Tony Frazier issued a "stop movement" order for certain poultry in Alabama. The state is the country's second-largest producer of broilers (chickens bred and raised for meat), and poultry operations employ 85,000 people. Other samples were collected at the TaCo-Bet Trade Day flea market in Jackson County on March 12.

"Our business is diversified and scaled across multiple states, so we plan to meet our customers' needs", spokesman Worth Sparkman said.

Another highly pathogenic outbreak would likely represent a financial blow for poultry operators such as Tyson Foods Inc and Pilgrim's Pride Corp because it would kill more birds or require flocks to be culled.

The three cases being followed in Alabama outside the control zone include a breeder farm in Lauderdale County run by Aviagen, a large poultry producer with US offices in Huntsville. "We are committed to protect the livelihoods of the many farmers in Alabama".

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The sample from the guinea fowl from Scottsboro tested positive for a low level of avian flu, the state Department of Agriculture and Industries said late Thursday afternoon.

The ministry has asked the Animal Health Department to closely inspect all cargo from the two U.S. states that were loaded before March 10 for delivery to Việt Nam.

Avian influenza is not harmful to humans.

The state said in a release, it has already depopulated the latest flock and that no affected animals entered the food chain.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has created a website (www.AlabamaAvianInfluenza.com) to assist backyard flock owners with maintaining healthy birds and to provide answers for avian influenza control. The flock was previously under quarantine after a chicken farm less than two miles away was found to be infected with high-path avian influenza.

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