Wild birds, such as ducks, can carry avian flu without showing symptoms of it and spread it to commercial farms through feces or feathers.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture is alerting poultry owners and growers to remain vigilant and enhance biosecurity practices now that a highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) virus has been confirmed in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
However, the resumption of the USA import ban means that South Korea can import chicken meat from Brazil, Chile, Australia, Canada, the Philippines and Thailand. Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer, cracked down on the movement of people and vehicles into its facilities, the news service said. Reuters reports that a bird flu outbreak in China over this winter has led to at least four deaths.
Most of Lincoln County borders Madison County, Alabama, though the county's western edge borders the eastern-most part of Limestone County. It can travel in wild birds without them appearing to be sick.
The facility, along with about 30 other farms, are under quarantine.
No source of the virus is reported at this time, though the USDA is still investigating.
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Delmarva chicken growers are being put on notice about avian flu after the discovery during the weekend that a flock had become infected in Tennessee.
A low-pathogenic bird flu strain has been detected in a Jennie-O Turkey Store operation in Barron, Wis., marking the second bird flu case in a USA commercial operation this week.
Of eight chicken houses on the farm in Tennessee, one became infected, said Tom Super, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, an industry group.
The highly pathogenic form of the virus can be deadly to domesticated chickens and turkeys.
"I want to assure all Alabamians that our department will continue our surveillance for avian influenza and approach this incident with an abundance of caution", McMillan said.
In the United Kingdom, an outbreak of bird flu last week led to the culling of more than 55,000 ducks believed to be infected.