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US: Rare virus, 1.4 mln chickens killed

More than 1.4 mln chickens have been killed in Robertson County, Texas, US, following the discovery of a rare respiratory infection in some of the birds.

Veterinarians detected chickens with infectious laryngotracheitis, or ILT, on farms near Texas 6 and Texas 14 more than a week ago, said Sanderson Farms COO Lampkin Butts.

"To stop the movement of disease, affected and exposed birds are being slaughtered," Texas Animal Health Commission Executive Director Bob Hillman said.

The virus is not a danger to people, even if they eat meat infected with the disease, according to Texas Animal Health Commission officials who are overseeing the slaughter of the birds in Robertson County.

Butts said that about a million of those killed would be processed for food and that meat from another 400,000 euthanized birds would not be distributed.

"I would like to assure all of our customers in Texas that these birds will be processed under USDA inspection, bird by bird. They are absolutely wholesome, and, as the animal health commission has said, this virus does not affect the wholesomeness of the chicken for our consumers at all," he said.

Source: TheEagle.com

Natalie Berkhout

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