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David Sparks Ph.d Avian Influenza
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: March 31, 2017

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Recent detections of avian influenza in commercial poultry in the southeast US, including Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, have caught the attention of animal health officials throughout the states. While the Northwest has so far avoided detections of bird flu this spring in commercial and backyard flocks, the vigilance remains high– and necessarily so.

State Veterinarian Dr. Brad LeaMaster of the Oregon Department of Agriculture is one of those staying on guard for the virus: “The avian influenza virus is naturally occurring in the wild waterfowl population, it’s always there. It’s a constant test of a person’s biosecurity measures.”


On one hand, the NW can be considered lucky to be free of bird flu detections at this time. But using Oregon as an example, maybe Oregon is making its own luck through strong and robust biosecurity taken by commercial poultry operators and back yard bird owners who understand the threat of avian influenza. Outreach and education efforts have helped, says ODA’s Avian Health Coordinator Mariah Crawford:  “So, we’ve been working a lot with our backyard producers to normalize and make the word biosecurity kind of a household term, kind of teach our backyard producers that it is simple to protect yourself and your birds from diseases like avian influenza.” 

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