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Bird Flu & 4-H Embryology
Memo to: Lincoln Public Schools Elementary Principals and Third Grade Teachers
From: Lois Mayo, Science Curriculum Specialist, Lincoln Public Schools
Re: Bird Flu and 4-H Embryology
Marty Cruickshank, UNL 4-H Extension Associate, works with third grade classrooms on the Embryology Unit. Being proactive, Marty contacted Dr. Sheila Scheideler, Professor of Animal Science at UNL and Extension Poultry Specialist, to allay any fears teachers or parents may have about this unit and bird flu.
Dr. Scheideler sent the following information:
"What you need to know about Bird Flu in North America"
Fortunately the highly pathogenic strain of bird flu (H5N1) that is causing so much concern in Asia and Europe has not come to the United States or Nebraska. Less virulent forms have been found in North American migrating birds for many years but are not a health threat to humans working with chicks of domestic origin.
We have been carefully monitoring poultry flocks in Nebraska for the past 2 years and have found NO evidence of bird flu. It is completely safe to incubate and handle chicks in the classroom without fear of contacting bird flu. If this situation were to change, all county extension offices will be immediately notified of the new situation and what to do.
As teachers work with the incubation project, please practice common sanitation procedures of washing your hands with soap before and after handling incubating eggs and chicks. Bacteria can enter the pores of the eggs from human hands as well as from dirty incubation environments. (Download this Free Handwashing Poster)
Also, if you have a student that has traveled to or from Asia, please ask them to completely wash and clean all clothing before coming back to school. Human transfer of disease is a much larger concern to the poultry industry right now than migrating birds across the oceans
If you have any further questions, you may contact Extension Poultry Specialist - Dr. Sheila E. Scheideler.