Controlling the coop

ARKANSAS - Getting onto Johnny Williams' chicken farm in western Arkansas is, according to this story, not easy. A sign at the gate warns outsiders: "DO NOT ENTER. Biosecurity area." Car tires must be sprayed with disinfectant. Visitors wear white body suits, rubber gloves, hair nets and plastic booties.
calendar icon 28 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read

No dangerous strain of avian flu, or bird flu, has infected U.S. poultry yet. But Williams, one of 6,000 contract growers for Tyson Foods Inc., was cited as saying he is not taking a chance in today's increasingly small world, adding, "If you go to a restaurant, you're going to pick up some kind of bug or virus from someone. It's hard to isolate yourself. So what you try to do is use common sense."

The story says that the poultry industry has been dealing with bird flu since 1975. High-pathogenic bird flu strains have been found and eradicated three times in the United States: in 1924, 1983 and 2004. No significant human illness resulted from the outbreaks.

The 2004 case, in Texas, was quickly brought under control. But the 1983 outbreak resulted in 17 million chickens, turkeys and guinea fowl in Pennsylvania and Virginia being euthanized. Industry advocates believe any bird flu outbreak in poultry can be contained quickly. Most commercial growers here raise chickens in enclosed, secure buildings, away from wild birds that are natural reservoirs for the virus.
They also point out that cooking chicken at the proper temperature kills the bird-flu pathogen.

Source: TulsaWorld

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