SE KS officials prepare for possible bird flu - KOAM TV 7

SE KS officials prepare for possible bird flu

The Missouri Department of Agriculture says turkeys at a farm near Asbury have now been killed, after the Avian flu was detected there.  But officials are still trying to determine if the virus has, or could spread.

More than 30,000 turkeys have now been killed in Southwest Missouri to prevent the spread of Avian influenza, of bird flu.  In Southeast Kansas...

"We have a lot of poultry producers in this area," says Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.

Groves met with Kansas Department of Agriculture officials.

"It's certainly something that we're wanting to try to head off the best we can, before it gets too far into impacting our local residents," says Groves.

Health officials say the chance of this bird flu infecting humans is very low.  But the virus spreads quickly, often through migrating birds.  The bird flu has also been found in Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, and Idaho.  Sheriff Groves is waiting for some key information from the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Sheriff Groves says, "Right now, we're looking at, should an immediate zone need to be established surrounding the impacted facility in Missouri.  How will that spill over into Kansas?"

The economy is at stake, with chicken and turkey major exports.

"So far, as we speak today, no other positive tests have come back from Southwest Missouri," says Richard Fordyce, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

But if the Kansas Department of Agriculture thinks it's necessary to set up restrictive zones in Southeast Kansas, deputies will be on the lookout for trucks carrying turkeys or chickens.  

"If need be, divert those semi-trucks a different route.  So we definitely don't want them coming in to close proximity to that impacted facility," says Groves.

That goes for trucks going to Missouri, but also coming from Missouri.  Deputies will divert transport of birds that have traveled close to the turkey farm near Asbury that was infected.  Sheriff Groves expects to hear more from the Kansas Department of Agriculture within the next day.

"As far as that goes, that's one of the best things to me, personally, about this job.  You don't know from one day to the next what you're going to be asked to do, or how we can help the community," says Groves.

The Jasper County Sheriff's Office is not talking about plans to restrict traffic, should this bird flu spread.  There is word another part of the Four State area could have the bird flu.  Officials with Missouri's Department of Agriculture say they've heard birds in Northwest Arkansas are being tested for this virus.

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