'Poultry is really safe in Alabama'

ALABAMA - While state health officials say an avian flu pandemic is an issue of "when" and not "if," that "when" has not come yet, and officials say domestic chicken is completely safe to eat.

Those officials say practices used at Alabama poultry farms protect the state from the type of widespread transfer of avian influenza currently taking place in Asia.

Avian influenza occurs naturally in birds, which may carry the virus without ever becoming sick. The virus is very contagious among birds, and infected birds may transfer the virus to domestic birds, making them ill and even killing them.

Health officials worry how serious the disease will become when birds are not only transferring the disease to other birds but also to humans.

Currently, transmission of the virus from birds to humans is quite rare. Last year, 117 cases of avian flu were reported in humans, 60 of which were fatal.

According to local physician G. Robert Storey, humans who contract avian flu may develop symptoms similar to the human flu virus, such as fever, cough and muscle aches.

More serious symptoms can include eye infection, pneumonia and severe respiratory distress. Testing for human infection is available through health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors offices can take swabs for testing, he said.

Source: dailyhome.com
calendar icon 10 January 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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