Three poultry flocks at three separate locations in north Alabama are under investigation for avian influenza nine days after a highly pathogenic virus sickened a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tenn., which borders Alabama.
Alabama State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier issued a stop movement order for certain poultry in Alabama, which he announced publicly during a press conference in Montgomery March 14.
“The health of poultry is critically important at this time,” Frazier said. “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.”
The first two investigations were on two separate premises in north Alabama. One flock of chickens at a commercial breeder operation located in Lauderdale County, Ala. was found suspect for avian influenza. No significant mortality in the flock was reported. The other premise was a backyard flock in Madison County, Ala.
Samples from both premises were sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, to be tested for the virus.
The most recent investigation began following routine surveillance while executing Alabama’s HPAI Preparedness and Response Plan. USDA poultry technicians collected samples at the TaCo-Bet Trade Day flea market in Scottsboro located in Jackson County, Ala., March 12. Samples collected were suspect and sent to the USDA Lab in Ames, Iowa.
This suspected strain of avian influenza does not pose a risk to the food supply. No affected poultry entered the food chain. The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low.
“Following the 2015 avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest, planning, preparation, and extensive biosecurity efforts were escalated in Alabama. 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. “Our staff is committed to staying actively involved in the avian influenza situation until any threats are addressed.”
A second case of avian influenza was confirmed March 9 in Tennessee on a breeder chicken facility located in Giles County, Tenn., but this case is a low-pathogenic version, according to Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The facility is operated by a different company than the one confirmed March 5 of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Lincoln County. At this time, officials say, there is no known connection between the two sites.