Bird Flu Found in North Alabama Poultry

(CN) – Two separate flocks of chickens in north Alabama have tested positive for bird flu, according to Alabama State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier.

The first flock was located at a commercial poultry operation in Pickens County, while the second was a backyard flock in Madison County.

The samples were tested by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

According to a March 21 statement from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, both flocks tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza.

“While this is different from the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus that has been found recently in the United States, control measures are under way as a precautionary measure,” the statement read.

Last week, the department issued a “stop movement order” for certain poultry in the state. On Monday, it confirmed that the order remains in place.

“The order prohibits: all poultry exhibitions, sales at regional and county fairs, festivals, swap meets, live bird markets, flea markets and auctions. The order also prohibits the concentration, collection, or assembly of poultry of all types, including wild waterfowl from one or more premises for purposes of sale,” the department stated.

Frazier called poultry health “critically important” and said that the order “reducing the assembly and commingling of poultry is the most effective way to practice strict biosecurity measures in our state.”

The department was also quick to point out that the virus does not represent a risk to the food supply, saying that “no affected animals entered the food chain.”

In a third Alabama case, a sample taken from a guinea fowl at a flea market in Jackson County also tested positive for LPAI. According to the department, the site of origin for the guinea fowl has been placed under quarantine and surveillance.

Frazier emphasized in the statement a number of biosecurity measures that poultry producers and backyard poultry owners should follow, including isolating their poultry from other animals and “wearing clothing designated for use only at the poultry house.”

According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama’s poultry and egg business generates more than $15 billion a year for the state, as well as more than 85,000 jobs.

Earlier this month, two flocks of commercial poultry in Lincoln County, Tenn., tested positive for HPAI. A separate commercial flock located in Giles County also tested positive for LPAI.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture says neither strain of the virus poses a risk to the food supply.

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