Poultry in S.C. well protected
Nov. 02, 2005
By GINA SMITH
The Columbia State
Few visitors are allowed at the 200 chicken farms that raise birds for Columbia Farms, one of South Carolina's largest poultry producers. That prevents germs from spreading to or from poultry facilities.
And at Manchester Farms, a Sumter-based company that raises, processes and ships quail all over the nation and Canada, employees wear disposable boots and decontaminate equipment and feed trucks after working with the birds.
All the turkeys raised for Prestage Farms, headquartered in Kershaw County, are kept in enclosed, locked houses — with no contact with outside wildlife.
A veterinarian and past president of the National Turkey Federation, Ron Prestage is also the president of Prestage Farms. He and others in the business can't help but steam a little over what they say is incorrect information being circulated about the bird flu.
"There's several hurdles between avian influenza in a poultry flock and a form that a person would get sick (from)," he said. "It's just not likely to happen."
State veterinarian Tony Caver agrees, pointing out that the specific version in Asia, the H5N1 strain of high-pathogenicity avian influenza, which can lead to disease, has not been found in America.