The entire backyard flock in Madison County was also depopulated at the owner's request. According to USDA, both cases are considered presumptive low pathogenic (LPAI) avian influenza because neither flock showed signs of illness.

State agricultural officials on Thursday said the latest chicken breeding facility to be infected is in Lincoln County, close to a farm that was diagnosed with bird flu less than two weeks ago.

"Wild birds can carry this strain of avian influenza".

Three poultry flocks at three separate locations in north Alabama are under investigation for avian influenza nine days after a highly pathogenic virus sickened a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tenn., which borders Alabama. This flock was in the existing quarantine zone. This includes, but is not limited to, poultry exhibitions or sales at regional and county fairs, festivals, swap meets, exotic sales and live bird markets, flea markets and auctions. Alabama state veterinarian Dr. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the farm had 153,000 birds.

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Another highly pathogenic outbreak would likely represent a financial blow for poultry operators such as Tyson Foods Inc and Pilgrim's Pride Corp because it would kill more birds or require flocks to be culled. That said, deadly human flu pandemics have been sparked by viruses that first emerged in birds, and health officials closely track what's killing poultry.

No significant mortality was found among the birds in the Lauderdale County commercial operation, Alabama's agriculture department said. "We are committed to protect the livelihoods of the many farmers in Alabama". Tony Frazier, state veterinarian.

State and federal officials continue to monitor and test poultry located in the areas immediately surrounding the three affected premises. The state is the country's second-largest producer of broilers (chickens bred and raised for meat), and poultry operations employ 85,000 people. During this time, backyard flock owners should refrain from moving birds offsite or introducing new birds.

"Bird flu" is a catch-all phrase for a variety of influenza viruses that spread among poultry.