East Texas Poultry Producers Concerned Over "Bird Flu" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/24/04-East Texas

East Texas Poultry Producers Concerned Over "Bird Flu"

East Texas poultry producers are concerned over a recent finding of bird flu in South Texas.

Over the weekend a deadly strain of avian influenza was found in a flock of chicken on a farm in Gonzalez County. The chickens were immediately depopulated and the farm has now been quarantined, but farmers across the State are on the lookout.

David Alders is a chicken farmer in Nacogdoches County. Alders has been in the poultry business since 1989. He said he's willing to take any precautions to make sure the virus doesn't spread.

"We're careful to make sure no visitors come on poultry farms it's very important that poultry farmers don't go to neighbors poultry farms," he said. "We're doing everything we can to try and limit the spread."

Alders handles around 300,000 birds at any one time. His farm produces nearly $2 million birds a year. He said he's afraid of the economic impact.

"Poultry is the number one agricultural commodity in many counties of East Texas and perhaps the entire region of East Texas so it's very important for us all and these types of things are certainly very threatening to us."

Health officials are confident they contained the virus in Gonzalez County and are hopeful the precautions will keep it from spreading.

Chris Gibson, reporting

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