Local Farmer Not Concerned with Bird Flu

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

November 2, 2005
You can add travel restrictions to the list of possibilities when it comes to the bird flu. President Bush has a $7 billion plan to stockpile vaccines and help state and local governments prepare. News 12 is on your side with a closer look at what local chicken farmers say about this growing fear.

Almost all of the 120 known human cases of the deadly avian flu involve people who come into close contact with infected birds. But that doesn’t seem to scare this chicken farmer and her job requires her to work around tens of thousands of birds everyday.

“I have no fear of it, I think there are things out there that are more serious than the bird flu,” said Peggy Mouss, owner of JR Moss Poultry Farm in Trenton.

That’s because South Carolina poultry farms follow scrupulous guidelines to prevent the spread of germs and diseases both from farm to farm and from within.

Bio security is so strict with contamination issues on poultry farms that any unauthorized personnel like myself wouldn’t have been able to step foot on the property, the only reason I could is because the chickens have already left the houses.

Just one of the several precautions they take after the birds have already been inoculated.

“We always change our shows, outside shoes to our work shoes, careful to wear clean clothes not exposed to outside activity,” Mouss said.

Practices and standards that have been around for years, way before concerns of the avian flu.

“Our field manager wears a coverall, plastic boots and puts in a barrel to be sanitized after he leaves here,” Mouss said. “What has happened are birds in Asia that run out in streets are left to run loose, probably not sanitary conditions,” Mouss said.

Which is far from that situation here. Once a bird runs loose and roams the land freely, it’s not allowed back in.

Peggy says she hasn’t heard of a bird flu in South Carolina in decade. The avian flu typically passes from bird to bird and has to mutate before it can pass through humans.

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