Officials: SC ready for bird flu - - Columbia, South Carolina

Officials: SC ready for bird flu

(Columbia-AP) April 24, 2006 - South Carolina agricultural officials say the state is ready should bird flu strike. Officials are not expecting an outbreak here.

The Clemson University Animal Diagnostic Center in Columbia has increased testing for avian flu, including at the state's more than 600 chicken farms. The state veterinarian's office is hiring extra employees to test at 20 auctions and flea markets where live birds might be sold.

The state Natural Resources Department also is preparing for testing of migrating ducks and other wild birds when they come back to South Carolina in the fall. That plan includes getting help from hunters and possibly testing during routine check-ins by hunters at wildlife management areas.

Mild strains of bird flu commonly appear in the United States. Officials are worried about H5N1, a deadly variation spreading through Asia, Europe and Africa.

It has killed 110 people, and scientists fear it could mutate into a form that spreads more easily among humans.

Posted 5:52pm by Chantelle Janelle

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