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article imageAvian flu suspected in three cases found in northern Alabama

By Karen Graham     Mar 14, 2017 in Science
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries officials are investigating three separate cases in the northern part of the state where poultry is suspected to be infected with the avian flu.
At a news conference on Tuesday, John McMillan, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries said the three cases are in Lauderdale, north Madison, and Jackson Counties, according to
McMillian added that the three cases have been sent off for testing, and are still considered "suspected" cases of avian flu and have yet to be confirmed at the time of the news conference. He also pointed out the cases are not considered a food safety issue. He also said the birds involved were waterfowl and consisted primarily of ducks and geese.
However, the Times Daily is reporting the Lauderdale County case involves a commercial chicken operation. The website cites State veterinarian, Tony Frazier as saying a "stop movement order" has been issued until the investigation is complete.
"With three investigations of avian influenza in north Alabama on three separate premises, we feel the stop movement order is the most effective way to implement biosecurity for all poultry in our state," he said.
The other two investigations include a backyard flock in Madison County and the TaCo-Bet Trade Day flea market in Scottsboro. While avian flu, at present, is not a threat to human health, it can devastate commercial poultry operations resulting in huge financial losses.
Stopping the movement of birds is the most practical way of stopping the spread of the virus, however, the fact that wild birds, including many waterfowl, are hosts for the virus makes it difficult to keep domestic flocks from any intermingling with wild birds.
Agriculture and Industries officials are also reminding all people with domestic flocks, from backyard operations to commercial producers, to use proper biosecurity practices to protect their birds. They also urge people to contact the State immediately if there are any indications of sickness in their poultry.
Proper biosecurity should include the following: Wearing clothing designated for use only at the poultry house
Minimizing access to people and unsanitized equipment
Keeping the area around the poultry buildings clean and uninviting to wild birds and animals
Sanitizing the facility between flocks
Cleaning equipment entering and leaving the farm
Having an all in, all out policy regarding the placement and removal of the poultry
Properly disposing of bedding material and mortalities
Avoiding contact with migratory waterfowl
More about Avian flu, lowpathogenicity, three cases, precautionary measures, poultry flocks
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