MAHA SARAKHAM – This week, the supply of turkeys in the Northeast, a highly-sought-after commodity for North American residents of the region ahead of the Thanksgiving celebrations in fall, took a hit after hundreds of turkeys died of fowl cholera.

On Thursday, the Maha Sarakham Provincial Livestock Office became alarmed after 897 turkeys were found dead in Kantharawichai District. Tests confirmed that the birds died of fowl cholera, an infectious avian disease with a high death rate.

Provincial authorities declared the district an endemic area for 15 days and imposed a ban on the movement of poultry in and out of the province.

Fowl cholera is one of the most common bacterial infections among waterfowl and domestic poultry. The disease is highly contagious and can spread rapidly, killing birds within six to 12 hours after infection. However, humans are not at a high risk of infection

Outbreaks of the disease can be prevented by high levels of hygiene, and by keeping other animals that may be carriers of the bacteria away from poultry houses and pens. Live vaccines are also available.

Raising turkeys has become a profitable business for many families in Maha Sarakham. Local residents praise the taste of the meat in dishes like laab. Ahead of the North American Thanksgiving celebrations in fall, prices for locally bred turkeys regularly spike in Thailand.