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#15850 - 02/12/04 02:49 PM Re: 12,000 chickens destroyed

I swore I would'nt post here anymore but here I go... From what I have read (world health org and dept of ag site) AI is present in all wild waterfowl in NA.Domestic fowl should not drink from water supplies frequented by wild waterfowl .Most wild birds are resistant but can be carriers. H7 affects fowl and H5 both humans and fowl but the two can "hybridize" and cause a pandemic like the 1918 flu where 50,ooo died in the US alone and 2-3X as many in Europe...who knows how many in the East. And don't forget SARS or the AI outbreak of '98 in GDR and Holland,$.02 worth, )

#15851 - 02/13/04 04:22 PM Re: 12,000 chickens destroyed
Stretch Man Offline

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 89
Loc: Australia
Slightly off topic, but... have you seen the "efficient" way the poultry producers in thailand keep their pens clean? They build the farms directly over the river and let the watercourse take the waste away! the amount of waste going into the system must be huge, Thailand is the major chicken producing centre in Asia.

Getting back on topic... has the recent 'flu outbreaks in the states had any effect on backyard flocks? The H5 strain has been found as close to us as Bali( a short flight for the migratory birds due here soon)and I am worried that we will have a mass panic here over backyarders.

#15852 - 02/24/04 07:19 AM Re: 12,000 chickens destroyed
D. Caveny Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1102
Loc: Arizona
I almost let the cat out of the bag a few days ago.....the US public in general and the regulatory community in specific has to be aware that LIVE BIRD MARKETS are a potential threat not only to the commercial food supply of every American but could also be the reservoir of disease for a possible pandemic similar to that which is currently threatening to break out in Asia. Approximately 40% of the fowl in live bird markets in the US exhibit diseases which are communicable to other fowl. The coming and going of individuals at these markets facilitates the transfer of these diseases via clothing and vehicles (fomites) back to the contact flocks and thus can spread these diseases widely. Other than to satisfy a few individuals cultural needs, the live poultry market does nothing to protect the safety of the US food supply....biosecurity is much more important to the general well being of the population. Urge your state legislature and the Congress of the US to pass laws to outlaw live bird markets to protect the US food supply as well as the public health.

Attached are 2 articles from the Delmarva which will give a pretty good idea as to the scope of this problem.

Pennsylvania Becomes Latest US State to Report Outbreak of Bird Flu
Maura Fogarty
New York
13 Feb 2004, 02:17 UTC

Officials in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have reported an outbreak of bird flu in those states. This comes just days after outbreaks at farms in Delaware led to the killing of thousands of chickens.
New Jersey health officials say evidence of the bird flu virus was found at four live chicken markets in northern New Jersey. And agriculture officials in Pennsylvania confirm a flock of poultry in the state has tested positive for the virus. The bird disease is the same strain as the type found at two Delaware farms since last week, resulting in the killing of 80,000 chickens.
However, officials stress that this strain is not dangerous to humans. They say it is not related to the avian influenza that has so far claimed 19 lives in Asia.
New Jersey officials say the discovery of bird flu in live chicken markets in the state is not unusual. They say they typically find avian disease at 40 percent of live poultry markets as part of regular testing.
Richard Lobb, who is a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, a trade association consisting of the United States poultry producers, says the findings are not surprising.
"To find a mild form of avian influenza, find evidence of that in these live bird markets is as surprising as finding the common cold in a kindergarten class. You're gonna find it from time to time," he said.
Mr. Lobb stresses the industry is taking all the necessary steps to prevent the disease from spreading further. Chicken producers are sealing up farms as much as possible by allowing only authorized personnel onto the farms. Other measures include washing down feed trucks before and after they visit farms, ensuring that farm workers wear protective clothing and wash down their boots in order to prevent transmission to other chickens. The virus can live in dirt and be transmitted unwittingly by human beings to other poultry.
Despite all the preventive measures, however, the discoveries in New Jersey and Pennsylvannia threaten to erode confidence and cause further damage the country's poultry industry.
Already, China, Japan and other Asian countries have banned U.S. poultry imports. Asia represents about 30 percent of the U.S. poultry industry's overall exports. Meanwhile, the biggest consumer of U.S. chicken, Russia, has banned imports from Delaware. With bird flu now present in more states, industry officials and farmers are worried that these bans might be widened.
Mr. Lobb says that would be a major blow to the poultry industry. "The total trade of the United States in poultry with other countries is worth over $2 bilion a year to the United States," he said. "And we certainly would not want to lose that or a large part of that. We understand that they are very sensitive about this particularly in Asia, but what they need to know is this is in fact the mild or so-called low pathogenic form of avian influenza and that the necessary steps are in fact being taken to control the outbreak."
Mr. Lobb says countries banning U.S. poultry products should do so on a selective case-by-case basis, as Russia has done, and not across the board.
Avian flu was first reported in Delaware last week.

Eastern US Poultry Industry Worries About Avian Influenza Outbreak
Mary Saner
Dover, Delaware
21 Feb 2004, 23:05 UTC

An outbreak of avian influenza in several eastern U.S. states in the last few weeks is threatening the region's huge poultry industry, and raising fears of a public health crisis similar to the one now sweeping across Asia. Mary Saner reports on how farmers and health officials are moving to contain the outbreak.
At Alvin Callahan's farm on the Delmarva Peninsula, three chicken houses, each the length of a football field, dominate the landscape. They hold 80,000 chickens being raised for sale to a nearby poultry processor. Mr. Callahan is very nervous these days. His farm is in Maryland, just across the border from a Delaware farm where thousands of chickens have been destroyed to try to control an outbreak of avian flu. The virus spreads easily through bird waste that is tracked on shoes and vehicles moving from farm to farm.
"You've got to be very cautious who comes and who goes and where they go," he explains.
Mr. Callahan stresses that local agriculture officials are doing all they can to stop the spread by urging farmers to stay home. "They don't want anybody to go to any auctions and they've more or less cancelled all the meeting for any farmers to go to. And the waste people, they've taken a lot of those off the farms, picking up trash."
There are different strains of avian flu. The one discovered in this area is a mild one, unlike the bird flu now spreading in Asia, where it has killed at least 22 people.
"This one - there is no history of it actually jumping species and affecting humans - the H7N2. And we feel fortunate that at the first site we have determined that it has low pathogenicity," says Anne Fitzgerald, an official with the Delaware Department of Agriculture. She notes her office has not yet determined how avian flu got onto the two farms here, but suspects it may have been through live bird markets - noisy, crowded bazaars where farmers from many areas come to sell their chickens.
"The first infected farm site is run by a gentleman who does raise birds for sale in the live bird markets in both New York and New Jersey and this particular strain of the virus, H7N2, has been a problem up there and they've had difficulty eradicating this virus. And it does reappear periodically, explains Anne Fitzgerald.
Another possible infection pathway is wild birds. They can carry the disease without symptoms. The Delmarva Peninsula is a major migratory flyway and wintering ground. Alvin Callahan says a lot of his neighbors believe those flocks are responsible for the outbreak.
"They seem to think it might have come from geese, he says. "They can fly over and drop a litter and you walk in it and you won't even know it. And you can carry it into your chicken house."
Since the virus was first detected here earlier this month, 85,000 chickens have been destroyed and composted. Scientists believe heat from the decay kills the virus. Farms within a 10-kilometer radius have been quarantined, and officials continue to test birds throughout the area.
According to Anne Fitzgerald, the longer avian flu virus is out there, the more chance there is for it to mutate into a more deadly strain. "One of the fears is if you have a low pathogenic virus - and it's left untended, it could become highly pathogenic," she says. "What we're trying to do is nip it in the bud."
The U.S. poultry industry is now urging the government to create a strong national system to monitor and track chickens sold at live markets. Meanwhile, more Asian countries are banning imports of Delmarva poultry. But Ms. Fitzgerald hasn't stopped eating the local chicken. "I've been eating it every night almost since this problem began," she says. "I have no problem with eating it, because this does not affect the safety."
Despite the massive effort to contain the spread on the Delmarva Peninsula, new outbreaks of avian flu have been reported recently in neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Similar control measures are being taken there.

#15853 - 02/24/04 08:14 AM Re: 12,000 chickens destroyed

D Caveny,
Thank you for providing us with this information; I try to keep up with the latest, but you are doing us all a service by giving us access to yours. I have a question to which the answer may seem obvious to some, but I'd like to know what the experienced poultry people think, anyway. I've read that wild ducks, in particular, can be carriers of these viruses (not sure which ones). In addition to the geese flying overhead, and the large number of starlings and other wild birds that make a strong appearance right here in my own backyard, is it advisable now not to let my ducks free range? I've already removed the bird feeders out back, but I still have bluebird boxes up, around the perimeter of our field. We live in upstate NY - I imagine migrating birds carrying this, fouling my field, my ducks and dogs going out in the field and then potentially picking this up on their feet etc. I don't know what to do here. I want them to free range, yet, I'm very, very worried about the magnitude of this virus and my birds catching it. What do you think?

#15854 - 02/24/04 08:29 AM Re: 12,000 chickens destroyed
Spotted Crow Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 855
Loc: Massachusetts
If you go down a ways, I posted last night about AI the next state down from me. I'm wondering that if they found it in April of last year and it hasn't been seen since, why would they have to knock off all the birds? Doesn't make sense to me at all...

#15855 - 02/24/04 09:17 AM Re: 12,000 chickens destroyed

Hi Spotted Crow, I read about it on that website you provided. Thanks. It seems they are panicking; they immediately quarantined the farm and only now begin slaughtering - as spreading is getting worse. Why did they keep these affected chickens then for 10 months - if only to kill them now? It's just awful.

It also said to keep our birds away from the migratory population as much as possible, as Croston mentioned above. Most of you have alot more birds than I do; what are you going to do, if you let them free range? Seems to me the only solution here is not to let them free range at all, and put them under a covered area where they can walk about eating the food we provide. But, in reality, am I going to do that? Kind of hard when I have mallards who love to fly and free range and swim outdoors. Still, if it's the only solution, that's what I'll do to keep my birds safe...what do you think? I really dislike the thought of it.

#15856 - 02/24/04 10:30 AM Re: 12,000 chickens destroyed
D. Caveny Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1102
Loc: Arizona
Migratory water fowl seem to be the major source of disease. I believe it is because they tend to migrate substantial distances and mix with many other populations of birds. Evidently geese and ducks from many flyways tend to mingle in the arctic and then take their different flyways south to Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas? In contrast passerine birds do not seem to have the infections in their populations to as great a frequency as do the water fowl. During the 1970's Newcastle outbreak, it seemed cormorants and other water birds were some of the most often diagnosed birds with the disease.

#15857 - 02/25/04 07:51 PM Re: 12,000 chickens destroyed

I checked the website Graciel provided. (thank you, Graciel). 6,600 chickens infected with H5N2 highly pathogenic avian virus in Texas. No biosecurity at farm, some chickens taken to the live markets. With contagious viruses like these spreading and the potential for them to become more virulent and cross species,(which they already have in some cases), is it likely, finally, that these live markets will indeed become a thing of the past? And, do you think there will be some new standards set for biosecurity?

I can't fathom how any operation housing over 6,000 chickens could not practice any biosecurity, especially in light of recent events. Maybe they don't care too much about others, but what of their own operation? It makes no sense to me, from an ethical or business standpoint.

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