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Christian County farms test negative for bird flu

State vet lifts avian influenza surveillance zones

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 13, 2017) — State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout has released surveillance zones surrounding two Christian County farms following negative test results for low pathogenic avian influenza from both commercial and backyard poultry operations.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the presence of H7N9 low pathogenic avian influenza in March in samples taken from a commercial poultry operation of 22,000 hens and a backyard flock of 2,700 birds. Federal and state authorities established surveillance zones in a 6.2-mile radius of the affected farms. In each case, the birds exhibited no clinical signs of avian influenza. The flocks were depopulated and buried.

The quarantines on the two affected farms remain in place pending completion of cleaning and disinfection procedures.

Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) typically causes no clinical signs or mild illness. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) can cause severe disease with high mortality.

The Office of the State Veterinarian, an agency of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, other government agencies, the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the Murray State University Breathitt Veterinary Center, private veterinary practitioners, and producers to prevent and eradicate disease in Kentucky livestock and poultry.

Stout encouraged poultry producers and all other bird owners to take biosecurity measures to prevent their birds from being infected with avian influenza or other bird diseases:

  • Keep your distance – Isolate your birds from visitors and other birds.
  • Keep it clean – Prevent germs from spreading by cleaning shoes, tools and equipment.
  • Don’t haul disease home – Clean vehicles and cages.
  • Don’t borrow from your neighbor – Avoid sharing tools and equipment with neighbors.
  • Know the signs – Watch for early signs to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Report sick birds – Report unusual signs of disease or unexpected deaths to the Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian at (502) 573-0282, option 3, or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says that avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans. No affected animals entered the food supply.

Poultry and eggs generated an estimated $1.2 billion in cash receipts to Kentucky farmers in 2015, the Kentucky office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported. Kentucky farmers produced 307.7 million broilers and nearly 1.3 billion eggs in 2015.

Kentucky entry requirements are listed on the OSV website at kyagr.com/statevet. For more biosecurity tips and other information about avian influenza, go to healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov. For more information about the Christian County investigation, contact Stout at (502) 782-5921.