A disease that's spreading through chicken populations in the western United States is causing a lot of concern among poultry growers here in East Texas.

It's called Exotic Newcastle Disease. And while it has not shown up here yet, a flock of non-commercial chickens in El Paso are suspected of having it.

The poultry industry plays a big role in the East Texas economy. If the disease were to strike here, it could be devastating. That's why poultry producers are taking extra precautions.

Experts say broiler growers and breeder farms should severely restrict any movement onto their farm.

Exotic newcastle disease does not affect humans, so it cannot be passed to you from chickens.

But people can carry the virus that causes the disease for a short amount of time.

That's how it's often spread from one flock of chickens to another