Poultry producers asked to protect flocks from bird flu

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is reminding poultry producers to protect their investments after the first case of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza was confirmed this year in Tennessee.

The North American wild bird lineage H7N9 is a new strain of Avian Influenza that’s highly pathogenic, which means it has a high mortality rate for infected poultry, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Tasha Bunting, the assistant director of Commodities and Livestock Programs for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said there is a migratory pattern happening right now and wild birds migrating from one area to another could potentially be infected.

Bunting said farmers need to keep a close eye on their flocks and keep them inside and away from wild birds and waterfowl.

“Keeping surveillance, keeping a close eye on their flocks, and increasing their bio-security measures so if you have feed trucks or other individuals who are coming in and out of the farm, be sure that they are sterilized and disinfect any tools that are being carried from one farm to another,” Bunting said.

Some of the bio-security measures poultry producers should follow are to “not loan or borrow equipment or vehicles from other farms, do not bring birds from slaughter channels, especially live-bird markets, back to the farm, and permit only essential workers and vehicles to enter the farm,” according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Bunting said there is no evidence that this virus is dangerous to humans.

“This is not considered a threat to human health. This is a totally different type of strain than the outbreak in China that caused some illness over there. Any affected bird would be depopulated and not ever entered into the food supply so there’s no reason to be concerned,” Bunting said.

–Illinois News Network

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