November 3, 2003



Avian Influenza & Newcastle Disease May Hurt $305 Million Poultry Industry in US' Jamaica, Caribbean


United States' Jamaican and Caribbean poultry farmers are expecting a pair of deadly problems, Avian Influenza (AI) and Newcastle disease, to hit their $305 million industry. The two fatal diseases had already wiped out commercial flocks in large parts of the United States, Italy and Chile.


The Jamaican Agriculture Ministry has urged that immediate steps be taken to prevent the diseases from occurring or at least containing them.


"Lobby your government, lobby your ministry of agriculture, lobby your veterinary department," said Jamaica's Cedric Lazarus, a veterinary surgeon in the Ministry of Agriculture.


He was speaking last week at the Regional Caribbean Poultry Association (CPA) board meeting at McCook's Pen in St Catherine, home of the Jamaica Broilers.


The diseases have hit commercial flocks in California, Virginia and, to a lesser extent, in Nevada and Arizona in the United States and also in Italy and Chile.


In 2000, the outbreak of influenza wiped out the poultry sector in one of Chile's 14 states, costing the government $20 million to eradicate it and compensate the farmers.

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