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Poultry plants to monitor chicken health closely

June 4, 2008

Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. asked state poultry processors to increase chicken health monitoring in their poultry farms.
Strain said he requested the step up after Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission officials confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza had occurred in northwest Arkansas last week.
“Poultry is Louisiana’s number one animal industry,” Strain said. “Our farmers understand the need for the increased vigilance. It’s a necessary precaution.”
Strain said he asked the poultry industry to increase the bird sample size it sends to the LDAF poultry diagnostic laboratory in Homer.
The LDAF poultry lab runs a series of tests on poultry tissue to detect any problems before the chickens are sent to the processing plant.
Strain said Arkansas officials reported routine pre-slaughter testing discovered evidence of the low-pathogenic H7N3 strain of the avian influenza virus in two poultry houses owned by Tyson Foods Inc.
The poultry houses in question were depopulated according to the standards set by the National Avian Influenza Response Plan, Strain said.
Arkansas officials said they have increased bio-security surveillance of all poultry farms in the area to make sure the virus has been contained to that one farm.
Strain urged all poultry farmers, including backyard hobbyists to practice good bio-security.
“Louisiana has been an active partner with USDA’s National Poultry Improvement Plan for a number of years and screens every broiler flock for avian influenza prior to marketing,” Strain said. -30-