1. Headline
  1. Headline
updated 4/7/2009 2:03:47 PM ET 2009-04-07T18:03:47

State and federal authorities are investigating an outbreak of bird flu on a poultry farm in western Kentucky.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. After years of silence, Monica Lewinsky speaks about cyber bullying

      Monica Lewinsky is back in the public eye, and she's using the attention to bash bullying. Lewinsky got emotional on Monda...

    2. Watch Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder honor doctor onstage at concert
    3. Former 'American Idol' contestant Joanne Borgella dies at 32
    4. 'American Idol's' Scott MacIntyre hoping for new kidney in 6 months
    5. ‘Marcel the Shell’ returns, remains adorable in so-cute-it-hurts video

State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout said the strain discovered is "nonpathogenic or low-pathogenic" and poses a minimal risk to human health. Stout said it is not the "high pathogenic strain" associated with human and poultry deaths in other countries.

Stout quarantined the farm, which produces hatching eggs for Perdue Farms Inc. He said some 20,000 chickens have been euthanized.

"It does occur naturally in wild birds and it can spread to domestic birds, which is why we have the occurrence in Kentucky," said Cindy Ragin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "This is something that is not uncommon."

Stout declined to identify the farm, but he said it is near Brownsville in Edmondson County.

"The state and federal government and Perdue are acting aggressively to contain and eliminate the disease," 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."

Bird flu basicsAlready, Stout said, Japan and Russia have banned imports of poultry from Kentucky.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is conducting surveillance on backyard flocks within a two-mile radius of the farm.

"The people of Kentucky and our trading partners should rest assured that we are doing everything possible to address the situation," Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said.

Stout said 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.

Stout said it was the first confirmed case of bird flu in Kentucky.

In 2007, two outbreaks occurred in turkey farms in Virginia and West Virginia. Some 25,000 turkeys had to be euthanized on each farm after the pathogenicity avian influenza was discovered.

Bird flu is a virus that affects domestic poultry and some wild birds. It is spread by direct contact with infected birds.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Ashley Landis / EPA

    Watch Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder honor doctor onstage at concert

    10/20/2014 10:12:53 PM +00:00 2014-10-20T22:12:53
  1. Michael Becker / Getty Images

    'American Idol's' Scott MacIntyre hoping for new kidney in 6 months

    10/21/2014 12:12:49 AM +00:00 2014-10-21T00:12:49
  1. Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    After years of silence, Monica Lewinsky speaks about cyber bullying

    10/20/2014 11:27:26 PM +00:00 2014-10-20T23:27:26
  1. Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

    Former 'American Idol' contestant Joanne Borgella dies at 32

    10/20/2014 10:31:52 PM +00:00 2014-10-20T22:31:52
  1. Three big expenses you'll save on this fall

    10/20/2014 1:35:24 PM +00:00 2014-10-20T13:35:24
  1. Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images

    Kristen Bell talks about using sign language with young daughter

    10/20/2014 11:17:07 PM +00:00 2014-10-20T23:17:07