Last week, a case of the highly-pathogenic H7N9 avian flu was discovered at a Tennessee farm. It has since crossed into Alabama.
The first two locations of avian flu were discovered at a commercial chicken operation in Lauderdale County, Ala. The second location was a backyard flock in Madison County, Ala. Samples were taken from both locations and shipped to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Ia.
The third incident took place following routine surveillance while carrying out Alabama’s HPAI Preparedness and Response Plan. Poultry technicians with the USDA collected samples from a flea market in Jackson County, Ala. and sent to the NVSL.
Dr. Tony Frazier, Alabama’s state veterinarian, and John McMillan, state commissioner, have ordered a stop movement for certain poultry in the state.
“The health of poultry is critically important at this time,” said Dr. Frazier. “With three investigations of avian influenza in north Alabama on three separate premises, we feel that the stop movement order is the most effective way to implement biosecurity for all poultry in our state.
This suspected strain of avian influenza doesn’t pose as a risk to the food supply, states a press release from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.
Dr. Frazier encourages commercial poultry producers and backyard flock owners to observe their birds closely and continue to practice strict biosecurity measures. These include:
- Isolating poultry from other animals
- Wearing clothing designated for use only at the poultry house
- Minimizing access to people and unsanitized equipment
- Keeping the area around the poultry buildings clean and uninviting to wild birds and animals
- Sanitizing the facility between flocks
- Cleaning equipment entering and leaving the farm
- Having an all in, all out policy regarding the placement and removal of the poultry
- Properly disposing of bedding material and mortalities
- Avoiding contact with migratory waterfowl