State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout has quarantined the farm, which produces hatching eggs for Perdue Farms Inc. Perdue plans to depopulate 20,000 chickens in two houses on the farm.
“The state and federal government and Perdue are acting aggressively to contain and eliminate the disease,” Dr. Stout said. “There is no evidence that any infected poultry are in the human food supply as a result of this infection. We will do what is necessary to minimize the disruption to overseas trade.”
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is conducting surveillance on backyard flocks within a two-mile radius of the farm.
A minimal drop in egg production at the farm was noticed in mid-March. Perdue’s veterinary services laboratory took samples from chickens at the farm and found antibodies for avian influenza. Testing by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, resulted in a presumptive positive finding for the H7 strain. Subsequent testing by NVSL and the Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville confirmed the finding.
No virus has been isolated and no poultry deaths have been found in connection with the infection.
Avian influenza is a virus that affects domestic poultry and some wild birds. It is spread to healthy birds by direct contact with infected birds or infected material, often through feces from infected birds. Avian influenza is not transmitted through eggs. Low-pathogenic avian influenza causes little if any illness in poultry and is rarely fatal to poultry.