McMillan said commercial growers do aggressive poultry testing and are prepared to kill a flock or more to prevent spread of the virus. Tony Frazier, state veterinarian. Both flocks have already been depopulated out of an abundance of caution.
This suspected strain of avian influenza does not pose a risk to the food supply. "Industry, growers, state and federal agencies and other stakeholders have worked hard to maintain a level of readiness", said Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture John McMillan. The variety found in the U.S.is from North American wild bird lineage.
The USDA said Monday that it does not yet know what type of H7 bird flu is affecting the chickens in Tennessee, but will know within 48 hours.
Health officials have said the risk of bird flu spreading to people from poultry or making food unsafe was low.
Following the 2015 bird flu outbreak in the Midwest, planning, preparation, and extensive biosecurity efforts were escalated in Alabama. Other samples were collected at the TaCo-Bet Trade Day flea market in Jackson County on March 12.
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Samples from the affected flock, which displayed signs of illness and experienced increased mortality, were tested at Tennessee's Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. Samples collected were suspect and were also sent to the USDA Lab.
A commercial chicken-breeding farm in Lauderdale County and a backyard flock in Madison County are among the facilities under investigation, the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries said in a statement Tuesday.
Spokeswoman Amy Belcher said Wednesday the Scottsboro flea market is a weekly event, and chickens are brought there from backyard flocks and small producers from across the region.
Tennessee's Department of Agriculture is not identifying the farm where the chickens were destroyed, saying only that it is located in the state's Lincoln County, which is just west of Chattanooga and borders Alabama. Results of those tests will be made public as soon as they are received, Belcher said. "We expect this threat to diminish over time as migratory patterns change with consistently warmer weather".