Bird flu affects turkey prices

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Wholesale turkey prices are on the rise this year, and now might be a good time to shop for your Thanksgiving meal.

This being due to discoveries of avian influenza which directly impact the producers, which affects what can be found in store.

Agrilife extension economist David Anderson, PH.D, says, “Between bird flu and high food costs, you have the recipe for higher prices.

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 (HPAI), also known as bird flu, has been confirmed in blue-winged teal collected by hunters in the Southwest. western Louisiana. Additionally, several captive birds have died from HPAI in northeast Louisiana. Although the virus poses a low risk to humans, it is important to avoid contact with sick birds. Also remember that hunting gear can carry the virus. Here are some general safety guidelines for hunters and others handling wild animals and their tissues:

• Do not handle or eat diseased game.

• Dress in the field and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.

• Wear disposable rubber or nitrile gloves when handling and cleaning game.

• When you are finished handling game, wash your hands thoroughly with soap or sanitizer and clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that have been exposed to game with warm, soapy water and a cleaning solution. 10% bleach.

• Do not eat, drink or use tobacco products when handling animals.

• All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F.

• Avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with the droppings of wild or domestic birds.

• Hunters should not donate organs, viscera or carcasses to scavengers or allow carcasses to be consumed by other wildlife.

Some other protective measures include:

• As a general rule, observe wild birds from a distance, do not attempt to handle wild animals. Avoid contact with domestic birds (poultry) that appear sick or dead.

• People who work with poultry and wild birds should receive the annual influenza (flu) vaccine. This action reduces the potential for genetic changes in avian influenza, which may make the virus more able to infect humans, increasing the potential for pandemic influenza.

If you have been in close contact with infected birds or surfaces contaminated by them because you are responding to an outbreak of avian influenza in the course of your work, your state or local health department should contact you. If you were not contacted by your state or local health department after your exposure, contact them as soon as possible so they can help monitor your health.

People who become ill within 10 days of exposure to infected birds should self-isolate at home away from household members and should not go to work or school until it is proven that ‘they are not infected with the bird flu virus and have recovered from their illness. A health care provider can write you a prescription for an antiviral medication to treat your illness. The local or state public health department can help monitor and advise when isolation is no longer necessary.

For more information, contact LDWF State Veterinarian Dr. James LaCour at [email protected] or LDWF Deputy State Veterinarian Dr. Rusty Berry at [email protected] gov.

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