On The Farm: Bird flu must be detected early in commercial flocks

TEXAS - Headlines about bird flu, or avian influenza, have raised concerns from the general public about this as well as other foreign animal diseases.

Avian influenza is a virus that usually affects only birds. It circulates among the wild bird population and sometimes pigs. And, as with other flu viruses, it can change or mutate. Some avian influenza strains come in one of two strengths, known as pathogenicity, or the ability to sicken or kill birds. Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) may not be apparent or may make birds slightly ill. On the other hand, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) may make birds very sick or cause fatalities.

The highly visible bird flu in the news is a highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, which has not been detected in the United States.

Avian influenza or its pathogenicity cannot be determined by looking at a sick bird. In fact, there are numerous diseases or conditions that can cause birds to become ill or die. To determine the cause, lab tests must be conducted on blood, tissue or fecal material from a potentially infected bird.

Source: The Bryan-College Station Eagle
calendar icon 10 July 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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