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Tyson kills hens exposed to flu

June 4, 2008 | 11:23 am

Hens_in_vietnam_dead_from_avian_flu

In 2004, the avian flu struck and killed thousands of birds in 10 Asian nations, including Vietnam (an egg farm in Ho Chi Minh City ... formerly Saigon ... is pictured above), touching off international paranoia about the disease.

Now the U.S. company Tyson Foods Inc. has begun killing and burying 15,000 hens that tested positive for exposure to bird flu, state officials said in Little Rock, Ark.

According to Times wire reports, Tyson said preliminary tests indicated the presence of antibodies for H7N3, a less virulent strain of the virus than H5N1, which ravaged Asian poultry in 2003 and has killed 240 people worldwide since then.

"There is absolutely no human health threat," said Jon Fitch, director of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission. "But we take this very seriously."

--Francisco Vara-Orta

Photo: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times

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