WESTERN KENTUCKY BACKYARD FLOCKS
TEST NEGATIVE FOR AVIAN INFLUENZA
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Backyard poultry flocks near the western Kentucky poultry farm where avian influenza was discovered tested negative on initial testing for the disease, State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout announced today. Additional tests are pending.
The non-pathogenic or low-pathogenic strain that was detected last week poses minimal risk to human health and is not the high-pathogenic strain associated with human and poultry deaths in other countries.
State animal health workers took samples from poultry in backyard flocks within a two-mile radius of the farm, which produces hatching eggs for Perdue Farms Inc. The farm will remain under quarantine until the poultry houses on the farm are cleaned and disinfected, Dr. Stout said.
The state is developing plans to expand the testing radius for backyard flocks to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), Dr. Stout said. “We will take all necessary steps to assure residents, consumers and international trading partners that the disease has been contained and eradicated,” he said.
Dr. Stout pointed out that animal health workers wear personal protective equipment to conduct the testing to comply with routine protocol established by federal and state authorities.
Dr. Kraig E. Humbaugh of the Kentucky Department for Public Health stressed that there is no evidence that the disease has been transmitted from birds to humans in this outbreak and there never has been documented human-to-human transmission of low-pathogenic avian influenza in the United States. Dr. Humbaugh advised that eggs and poultry products for human consumption always should be cooked to recommended temperatures.
The Barren River District Health Department and the Lincoln Trail District Health Department are working in collaboration with the Kentucky Department for Public Health to follow up on any potential human exposure to low-pathogenic avian influenza.
The disease was detected as a result of testing by Perdue and state and national laboratories after a minor drop in egg production was noticed last month. No virus has been isolated and no poultry at the farm died or became sick because of the disease.
Avian influenza is a virus that affects domestic poultry and some wild birds. It is spread to healthy birds by direct contact with infected birds or infected material, often through feces from infected birds. Avian influenza is not transmitted through eggs. Low-pathogenic avian influenza causes little if any illness in poultry and is rarely fatal to poultry.