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Bird Flu Found on California Quail Farm as Russia Bans Shipments

April 23 (Bloomberg) -- The disease known as bird flu has been found on a quail farm in California, prompting countries including Russia to ban poultry shipments from the state.

Low-pathogenic avian influenza was detected in a quail flock at a farm in Stanislaus County, California, on April 18, said Steve Lyle, spokesman for the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture. The case was confirmed by the federal agriculture agency and the farm has been quarantined, he said.

“Veterinarians are humanely euthanizing birds at the farm as called for in established protocols, which also include epidemiological investigations, further testing of any at-risk flocks, and communication with other poultry farms to ensure that the disease is contained,” Lyle said in an e-mail.

Russia and Taiwan banned imports of chicken from California. Cuba restricted imports of fresh or frozen poultry from birds raised or processed in Stanislaus County, and Japan has banned California eggs laid and poultry slaughtered on or after March 24, USDA reports show. The state exported $13 million of chicken in 2012, government data show.

Some countries have agreements with the U.S. that require poultry exports to be “suspended for a period when there are such detections,” Ed Curlett, a spokesman at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, said in an e-mail.

The virus strain is H5, according to an online notification to the World Organisation for Animal Health. The affected farm contains about 95,000 Japanese quail. The premises has an additional 21,000 Peking ducks for egg production.

California, the top U.S. agricultural grower, produced $720 million of chicken in 2012 and almost $400 million of egg production, according to Lyle.

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