Avian flu outbreak that has killed millions of birds spreads to Arizona

First cases of bird flu reported in Arizona. The avian flu outbreak has already killed 37 million birds in central and eastern US. The di...

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  • First cases of bird flu reported in Arizona.
  • The avian flu outbreak has already killed 37 million birds in central and eastern US.
  • The disease was found in wild cormorants.

Bird flu outbreak spreads. Arizona state officials confirmed the first cases of an outbreak of bird flu that has caused the deaths of more than 37 million birds from commercial farms in the central and eastern parts of the US, according to Publímetro and AP news agency.

The disease was detected after federal wildlife authorities tested three wild cormorants that were found dead in a park in Scottsdale, a Phoenix suburb, officials with Arizona Game and Fish said this week.


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The disease has not yet been found in domestic poultry or commercial operations in the state, the agency said. But it is concerning, said Glenn Hickman, president and CEO of Hickman Family Farms, one of the largest egg producers in the American Southwest.

Hickman operates four chicken farms in Arizona, one in California and two in Colorado. The company has suspended visits to its farms and reexamined its biosecurity program, which is designed to prevent an estimated 2 million chickens from becoming infected in the wake of the bird flu outbreak in the United States.


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AP Photo

They keep the chickens in protected barns so that wild birds cannot enter and all the people and tools that enter are disinfected. This is a measure to prevent avian flu from spreading to other areas. Safety and quality protocols are especially important for stopping spread.

The company recently had a scare when avian flu was detected in a flock about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from one of its Colorado farms, Hickman said Thursday, amid concerns the disease is on the rise. Filed Under: Bird Flu United States


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And while he says he’s worried about the discovery in Scottsdale, it’s not nearly as worrying as if a nearby business operation had an outbreak. In other parts of the world there have been more cases and in some places it has become worrying.

“Those are a lot scarier because the massive amount of virus that is potentially produced when you have a large population is much more than the relatively small amount of virus per bird in the wild bird population,” he said. None of his farms have been affected.


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Arizona Game and Fish has been closely monitoring the disease, which prior to this week’s announcement had only reached Colorado. The agency has responded to all reports of dead birds due to the current situation.

As of June 3, bird flu had been detected in wild birds in 40 states, but not in Arizona, California, Nevada or New Mexico. Commercial farms in 19 states have been infected and the situation has already caused the issue to be dealt with by the corresponding authorities.

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