Avian influenza investigations underway in Alabama

At a news conference on Tuesday, John McMillan, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries said the three cases are in Lauderdale, north Madison, and Jackson Counties, according to WSFA12.com.

State officials have issued a stop movement order on certain poultry in the state because of these three sites. No significant mortality in the flock was reported. In addition, the concentration, collection, or assembly of poultry of all types, including waterfowl and wild and exotic birds, from one or more premises, at a private or public place, for purposes of sale is also prohibited. On March 8, a flock in Giles County tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). Samples collected were suspect and those samples are on the way to the USDA Lab in Ames, Iowa. Tony Frazier reminds poultry owners to be vigilant about biosecurity.

The Tennessee Department of Health added that the risk of a person becoming ill with avian influenza during poultry incidents is very low.

Charles Hatcher, DVM, Tennessee's state veterinarian, said wild birds can carry the virus strain.

The affected Tennessee breeder supplies the food company Tyson Foods Inc.

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The U.S. southeast was largely spared during the last major American outbreak, which affected turkey and egg farms in the Midwest and led to the death of more than 48 million birds through mid-2015, either from infection or culling. "Our staff is committed to staying actively involved in the avian influenza situation until any threats are addressed". Alabama officials are working closely with the Tennessee and federal agriculture officials.

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture also confirmed a second case of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza in a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.

Officials said they will continue monitoring commercial and backyard poultry for signs of influenza.

Alabama is the second largest poultry producer in the country.

Antibodies for bird flu were detected by Aviagen, but a spokeswoman for the company told Reuters that the flock reported "no evidence of clinical disease".

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