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North Alabama Chicken Farm Loses 48,000 Birds to Avian Flu Outbreak

In a devastating blow to the poultry industry, a commercial pullet farm in Marshall County, Alabama, has lost nearly 48,000 birds due to the highly pathogenic avian flu. The presence of the virus was confirmed earlier this week, leading to the immediate quarantine of the farm.

The highly contagious nature of the avian flu poses a significant risk to birds, but experts have reassured the public that it is considered a low risk to humans. Thankfully, no other flocks in the area have reported an increase in deaths so far, providing some relief for nearby poultry farmers.

To prevent the spread of the virus, poultry within a 10-kilometer radius of the affected farm are currently being tested and closely monitored. It is essential for farmers to implement strict biosecurity measures, such as keeping birds enclosed without access to wild birds or other domestic flocks.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. The highly pathogenic avian flu has also been confirmed in an upland gamebird farm in Chilton County, affecting a staggering 296,500 birds. Federal and state officials have launched additional surveillance and testing in the areas surrounding both affected flocks.

Recognizing the symptoms of the avian flu in birds is crucial for early detection. Increased deaths, respiratory issues, diarrhea, poor appetite, and physical symptoms like swelling and discoloration are all signs that should not be ignored. Prompt reporting to the authorities is crucial to mitigate the spread of the virus.

In light of these outbreaks, both the commercial poultry industry and backyard flock owners are urged to heighten their biosecurity measures. Simple steps like cleaning vehicles and equipment, limiting visitors, sanitizing shoes in foot baths, and changing clothes after contact with birds can go a long way in preventing the spread of the virus.

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Anyone who comes across sick or dead wild birds should report it to the Alabama Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Similarly, sick or dead domestic birds and poultry should be reported to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ Poultry Unit.

The avian flu outbreak serves as a stark reminder of the constant vigilance required to protect our poultry populations. It is vital that both the industry and individuals take proactive steps to prevent further spread and minimize the devastating effects of this highly contagious virus.

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