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Possible Bird Flu Outbreak In Alabama Leads To Culling

First Posted: Mar 17, 2017 06:03 AM EDT
Bird Flu Outbreak In Alabama Suspected
Aviagen euthanized a flock of chickens over bird flu concerns. (Image for representation only.)
(Photo : Science and more/YouTube screenshot)

The reports of bird flu outbreak in poultries have once again raised concerns on the safety of the commercially available eggs and chicken, especially the ones procured from poultries located in Alabama. Officials are suspecting outbreak of the virus in at least three poultries located in varied regions of Alabama.

According to Reuters, 90,500 chickens have already been culled in two commercial operation sites in Tennessee due to the suspected presence of the pathogenic flu virus. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also confirmed that one of the reported cases is the first ever case of highly pathogenic avian flu infection to be reported in commercial poultry, while the other case involves a not so pathogenic viral subtype.

Lyndsay Cole, spokeswoman for USDA, has informed that the national USDA laboratory is currently testing poultry samples obtained from Alabama to further identify the virus subtype and to estimate its lethal impact. As of now, the virus has been identified as H7 subtype. Furthermore, both the infections reported in Tennessee were confirmed as H7N9 mediated avian flu viral infections.

On the other hand, Aviagen has also started euthanizing chickens in its Alabama farms. The decision was taken after Aviagen detected the presence of traces of the flu virus antibodies. Aviagen spokeswoman Marla Robinson later clarified that though the chickens tested positive for the antibodies, "no evidence of clinical disease" was observed in them. Moreover, "all eggs which were collected from that farm in the production system were traced and removed," she informed.

The Alabama health officials are presently investigating three separate poultry premises, all inside the said state. As a precautionary measure, the officials have issued a "stop movement order" until the origin of the bird flu outbreak is identified and sorted out, Fox News reported.

John McMillan, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, informed that the present situation does not pose any risk to the food supply chain of chickens and eggs. However, the organization is not taking any chances until any and all issues pertaining to the avian flu situation are addressed.

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