Untrue Bird Flu Rumors Hurt US Poultry, Says Expert

GEORGIA - Poultry and poultry products are getting some bad press and are the subject of untrue rumors linked to Asian Bird Flu, says the University of Georgia's Jim Crawford.
calendar icon 15 December 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

As a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent, I want to assure you that eating eggs and other poultry products is safe in spite of the rumors you may have heard. As a matter of fact, the Georgia Poultry Federation wants you to know the truth about avian influenza.

The type of avian influenza occurring in Asia is called H5N1 HPAI highly pathogenic avian influenza. We have never had this strain in the United States and do not have it now.

The disease is currently causing a major outbreak in multiple Asian countries. It is extremely deadly to poultry, has spread to wild birds in those areas, has caused more than 100 infections in humans and has resulted in some human deaths.

Actually, the transmission of Asian bird flu from birds to humans is extremely rare. Furthermore, the truth is that almost all infected people have had close, direct contact with live poultry infected with Asian bird flu.

Most of the poultry in Asian countries is produced in small backyard or village flocks. This puts people there in frequent contact with these birds and their feces and other secretions.

The sheer number of backyard flocks and infected wild birds makes the task of controlling this disease very difficult. The problem in Asia also presents a real challenge because the virus is present in such a large geographical region. These underdeveloped areas are not able to make a large-scale eradication effort.

You can take comfort knowing that considerable effort has been made to prevent the introduction of asian bird flu into U.S. poultry. Officials here have also prepared a response should the virus enter the U.S.

Unlike Asian poultry, U.S. poultry production units require very little handling of poultry. And the U.S. doesn't import any chicken, turkey or other poultry products from Asia. The fresh poultry you see in grocery

A Great Place stores is produced in the U.S., except for a very small amount produced in Canada.

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