- The Washington Times - Friday, December 2, 2005


Non-deadly strains of avian influenza emerged in California and North Carolina this week, according to state agriculture officials.

The low-grade viruses, which are not transmittable to humans, were reported in a Sun Valley, Calif., quail farm and a commercial bird farm in Sampson County in North Carolina, officials said.

“We are aware of the situation and letting the states handle the low pathogenic form,” said U.S. Agriculture Department spokeswoman Angela Harless.

The strains, which are not lethal enough to require affected flocks to be destroyed, are some of the first cases of low-pathogenic bird flu to appear in the United States this bird season, Miss Harless said.

If a high-pathogenic form, which can spread quickly among birds, turns up, the USDA would take control of the situation, but that is not likely for the afflicted states, Miss Harless said.

Miss Harless was quick to point out that low-pathogenic avian influenza commonly appears in the United States during the bird-flu season, which mirrors the human flu season that runs generally from November through March.

Marguerite Higgins

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