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AL poultry producers monitor avian influenza outbreak

Published: Feb. 17, 2016 at 7:59 PM CST|Updated: Apr. 27, 2016 at 8:00 PM CDT
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AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - Specialists with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System are encouraging poultry farmers to keep a close eye on their flock. This comes after the first case of Avian Influenza was reported this year at a turkey farm in Indiana.

While there have been no signs of the disease in Alabama, both commercial and backyard poultry producers are urged to remember the importance of practicing biosecurity. The strain reported in Indiana is a high pathogen strain and is highly deadly to domestic chicken and turkeys.

ACES says appropriate biosecurity steps include:

• Isolating birds from other animals

• Wearing clothing designated only for use at the poultry house

• Minimizing access to people and unsanitized equipment

• Keeping the area around the poultry buildings clean and uninviting to wild animal and birds

• 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

An outbreak of the deadly disease in Alabama would have a huge economic impact. Alabama's poultry industry creates more than $15 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 86,000 workers in the state, according to the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association.

The 2015 strain of Avian Influenza is believed to have originated in Asia and spread through wild ducks and geese into Canada. It was spread to the United States from Canada along migratory bird flyways.

If you notice birds showing unusual signs of disease (flu-like symptoms) or their flock experiences unexplained mortalities contact the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Poultry Division at 334-240-6584

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