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April 21, 2006

Meetings to focus on avian flu

The first of five regional meetings designed to provide North Carolina's poultry industry and the public with information about the threat of avian influenza will be held April 27 in Siler City.

The Siler City meeting, which is sponsored by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, begins with registration at 9:30 a.m. at the Carolina Stockyard Company, 260 Stockyard Road. It ends at noon.

A particularly deadly strain of avian influenza, or flu, has been spreading around the world. The H5N1 strain of avian influenza originated in Asia and has since spread to Europe and Africa. The disease has killed thousands of domestic and wild birds and is responsible for some human deaths. Human health and agriculture officials fear migrating birds will spread the disease to the United States.

If avian influenza reaches North Carolina, it could seriously threaten the state's poultry industry, which generates more than $2 billion in revenue annually.

The meetings, which are open to the public, are designed for poultry growers, Cooperative Extension employees, government officials and others involved in the state's poultry industry, said Dr. Brian Sheldon, Department of Poultry Science Extension Leader and professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University.

Sheldon said the meetings will include an overview of avian influenza and the threat the disease poses to the North Carolina poultry industry. Topics to be discussed include the potential economic ramifications of introduction of avian influenza to North Carolina and current preparations for containment and control in the face of an outbreak. The meetings will conclude with a panel discussion featuring representatives from Cooperative Extension, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the N.C. Division of Public Health.

For more information on the Siler City meeting, contact Daniel Campeau, area specialized poultry agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension at 919.542.8202 or dan_campeau@ncsu.edu.

Other meeting dates and locations:
May 3
Duplin County Cooperative Extension Center
165 Agriculture Drive
Information: James Parsons, area specialized poultry agent, 910.296.2143 or james_parsons@ncsu.edu

May 10
Robeson County Cooperative Extension Center
455 Caton Road
Information: James Cochran, area specialized poultry agent, 910.671.3276 or james_cochran@ncsu.edu

May 18
Iredell County Agricultural Resource Center
444 Bristol Drive
Information: Kathy Bunton, area specialized poultry agent, 704.878.3154 or kathy_bunton@ncsu.edu

May 30
Union County Cooperative Extension Center
3230-D Presson Road
Information: Jody Smith, area specialized poultry agent, 704.283.3743 or jody_smith@ncsu.edu

-D. Caldwell

Posted by Natalie at April 21, 2006 04:17 PM