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US Bird Flu Tests Show No New Cases

by 5m Editor
17 February 2004, at 12:00am

US - US officials have announced that no new bird flu cases have been discovered following tests at 79 chicken houses in Kent and Sussex counties.

US Bird Flu Tests Show No New Cases - US - US officials have announced that no new bird flu cases have been discovered following tests at 79 chicken houses in Kent and Sussex counties.

Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Anne Fitzgerald said the testing took place at 34 farms within six miles of two farms where avian flu was discovered since Feb. 6.

The testing was conducted by eight teams of scientists from the University of Delaware's Lasher Laboratory in Georgetown, which reported only negative results after working late Friday night.

Meanwhile, agriculture officials said Sunday they plan to expand the testing, enlarging the 6-mile containment areas around two farms where the disease was found. Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse called the test expansion "a reasonable precaution."

Fitzgerald said testing would be resumed Monday.

"So far everything they've tested is negative, and we're pleased with that," Fitzgerald said. "We'll keep precautionary measures in place at least two more weeks."

Scuse said the negative tests were good news, "but we're by no means out of the woods yet."

The flu initially was found at a Kent County farm that supplies live chicken markets in New York and New Jersey, prompting the disposal of 12,000 chickens.

Scientists determined those birds carried a relatively mild strain of the disease that posed no threat to humans.

A second outbreak of avian flu was detected at a Sussex County farm that supplies chickens to Perdue Farms.

About 73,800 chickens at the farm were slaughtered and composted. As of Saturday, Delaware officials still were waiting for the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, to identify the strain and virulence of the disease in the Sussex case.

The Delmarva Peninsula is home to a $1.8 billion poultry industry.

At last count, 17 countries had responded to the avian flu discovery in the state by banning Delaware poultry or all U.S. poultry products.

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has called for a lifting of the bans.

"I know the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to have the bans lifted," Scuse said, "but that'll be a long process."

Source: eFeedLink - 17th Febuary 2004

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5m Editor