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Biosecurity training set for backyard flock owners
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Backyard and exhibition poultry owners can take part in an upcoming biosecurity training session designed to reduce the spread of bird flu and other infectious diseases.
The Mississippi Board of Animal Health and the Mississippi State University Extension Service are offering free biosecurity training across Mississippi. All sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. Workshops will take place Oct. 22 in the Lincoln County Civic Center in Brookhaven, Oct. 27 at the MSU Poultry Science Building in Starkville, Oct. 29 in Philadelphia and Nov. 17 in Tupelo. An initial workshop was held Oct. 20 in Columbia.
From last December through June, a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak occurred in 211 commercial and 21 backyard flocks across 21 states. Experts believe the U.S. will have another outbreak later this fall, winter and/or spring as wild birds are migrating.
Dr. Jim Watson, state veterinarian with the Mississippi Board of Animal Health, said it is essential that U.S. poultry owners take precautions to protect their birds by using strict biosecurity measures.
“The avian influenza virus subtypes naturally occur in wild birds, such as ducks, geese, gulls and shorebirds. These viruses in poultry are classified as either highly pathogenic or low pathogenic based on the ability of the virus to cause disease and how severe the disease is in the birds,” he said. “Most of these virus subtypes are low pathogenic and cause little to no clinical signs in affected birds. However, highly pathogenic is extremely infectious and fatal to poultry.”
Poultry owners are encouraged to attend and learn more about how to report a problem, protect their birds and recognize the clinical signs of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Poultry specialists from the Mississippi Board of Animal Health and the MSU Extension Service will be available to answer questions.
For more information, contact the county Extension office or MSU Extension poultry specialist, Tom Tabler, at 662-325-3416.