Bird Flu

A picture of a chicken.
Emilian Robert Vicol / Wikipedia

The North Carolina Agriculture Department has begun hosting avian flu informational meetings for people with backyard poultry operations.

If avian flu comes to the state, agriculture experts say backyard poultry will likely be the first to encounter the contagious and fatal disease because these flocks tend to live outdoors and use unprotected water sources.

A picture of chickens.
woodley wonderworks / Wikipedia

The fall bird migration season has poultry producers concerned.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said avian flu is not dangerous to humans, but it is highly contagious among birds and can wipe out entire poultry flocks.

chickens
Katie Brady / Wikimedia Commons

The avian bird flu is spreading across the country, and officials in North Carolina are doing what they can to protect the state's birds before the flu becomes a serious threat. The disease could have devastating effects on North Carolina's $18 billion poultry industry if infected waterfowl enter the state, but State Veterinarian Doug Meckes said that won't be a threat until possibly this fall.

 

"At this point, the migratory fowls do continue to harbor the virus, but most of them are in Canada and not a threat," Meckes said.

NC Poultry Industry Prepares For Bird Flu

Jun 11, 2015
chickens
Katie Brady / Wikimedia Commons

State agriculture officials are ramping up efforts to protect North Carolina's poultry industry against the avian flu.

The bird flu, called H5N2, is not a danger to humans, but has devastated poultry flocks in 21 states. Since its first appearance in December 2014 in British Columbia, the virus has killed nearly 50 million birds. The disease is spread by wild water fowl as they migrate across the continent. 

North Carolina is still free of the bird flu, but Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said that may change as wild birds begin their migration south in the fall.

An image of chickens on farm
Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press

 

North Carolina officials are closely monitoring an outbreak of the avian bird flu spreading in the Midwest and Western United States. Thirty million birds have either died from the disease, or have been killed as a preventive measure to control the flu from spreading, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture.