Delaware agricultural officials are awaiting results of tests to determine the exact strain of the avian influenza virus found on a poultry farm in northern Sussex County on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2004.
The virus found on the farm near Greenwood is of the H7 variety, as was the virus found last week in a non-commercial Kent County flock. Further testing will determine the precise strain of the H7 virus, which has no history of danger to humans, according to state agriculture officials,
Its effect on chickens, however, can be devastating. Already, the Greenwood flock of 73,000 birds has been destroyed and will be composted in a sealed broiler house.
Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse issued a statement on Feb. 11 laying out the details of an industrywide quarantine being put in effect in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease throughout Sussex County broiler houses.
"All persons having anything to do with Delmarva's chicken industry need to make significant changes to their standard operating procedures to limit and prevent the spread of the virus. Business as usual will not work," Scuse said. We are in an emergency situation and everyone’s cooperation is needed."
"We still do not know, and may not be able to determine, the exact means of transmission of the virus to Delaware. We know that it is here and we must take steps to prevent its spread. We are trying to protect a multi-billion dollar industry, which gives jobs to thousands of people, and 2,100 farm families on the Delmarva Peninsula," Scuse said.
There are more than 75 farms within 6 miles of the infected farms, all of which are under state quarantine until further notice. Birds over 21 days of age on these farms will be tested every 10 days for evidence of the virus.
The Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. Emergency Disease Task Force believes that the most likely ways to transmit the virus is firstly, through people carrying it on their shoe, secondly, by people and machinery entering and leaving the farm during routine operations, and thirdly, through the air. Therefore, the task force is recommending the following precautionary measures:
For a complete list of precautions laid out by the Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., go to the DPI website, www.dpichicken.org. For the latest news and statements from the Department of Agriculture, go to http://www.state.de.us/deptagri/. For information on avian flu in general, see the Centers for Disease Control Website at www.cdc.gov/flu.
© Copyright 2003 by YourSITE.com