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Low-Path Bird Flu in Kentucky Halts Exports to Russia

06 April 2009

KENTUCKY, US - Low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) has been found on a broiler breeder farm in western Kentucky. belonging to Perdue Farms. The virus, responsible for a minimal drop in egg production in mid-March, has been identified as belonging to the H7 sub-type.

State and federal authorities are investigating a finding of suspected non-pathogenic or low-pathogenic avian influenza in a single broiler breeder farm in western Kentucky., according to Lex18. The strain poses minimal risk to human health and is not the highly pathogenic strain associated with human and poultry deaths in other countries.

State veterinarian, Robert C. Stout, has quarantined the farm, which produces hatching eggs for Perdue Farms Inc. Perdue plans to depopulate 20,000 chickens in two houses on the farm.

"The state and federal government and Perdue are acting aggressively to contain and eliminate the disease," Dr. Stout said. "There is no evidence that any infected poultry are in the human food supply as a result of this infection. We will do what is necessary to minimise the disruption to overseas trade."

"I have been in constant contact with state, federal and industry officials since this came to light," Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer, said. "The people of Kentucky and our trading partners should rest assured that we are doing everything possible to address the situation."

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is conducting surveillance on backyard flocks within a two-mile radius of the farm.

A minimal drop in egg production at the farm was noticed in mid-March. Perdue's veterinary services laboratory took samples from chickens at the farm and found antibodies for avian influenza. Testing by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, resulted in a presumptive positive finding for the H7 strain. Subsequent testing by NVSL and the Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville confirmed the finding.

No virus has been isolated and no poultry deaths have been found in connection with the infection.

The Lex18 report concludes that avian influenza is a virus that affects domestic poultry and some wild birds. It is spread to healthy birds by direct contact with infected birds or infected material, often through feces from infected birds. Avian influenza is not transmitted through eggs. Low-pathogenic avian influenza causes little if any illness in poultry and is rarely fatal to poultry.

According to Bloomberg, Russia has halted poultry shipments from Kentucky, with immediate effect.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

ThePoultrySite News Desk



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