New Million Dollar Elba Animal Lab

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If there's an outbreak of bird flu, rabies, or mad cow disease in Alabama, state agriculture officials will be in close contact with medical personnel at the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory in Elba.

The new multi-million-dollar J.B Taylor Alabama diagnostic laboratory is now open for business. It, along with a new $14 million lab at Auburn University, is the only such facilities in the state. Medical personnel will be able to do autopsies on animals.

"We’re not only possible to help the producers locally, but also regionally to provide expertise to Florida and extending service even to Georgia," said Dr. Tony Frazier.

The lab director says animal specimens from across south Alabama and even the panhandle are brought here for speedy, expert analysis. Sometimes hours can literally mean the difference in containing a contagious disease outbreak.

Lab Director Dr. Joel Cline said, "Has capability of detecting disease in any animal and to diagnose a disease of any kind world wide."

With cases of rabies in Houston and several nearby Wiregrass and Panhandle counties, the expert information gathered will help all

Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks credited state Senator Jimmy Holley of Coffee County with getting the legislative financial backing to build the new, diagnostic laboratory

"With BSE and other types of contagious diseases we can determine a possible cause and that will be a tremendous help to the producers. It’s for them primarily," said Sparks.

At this time an animal diagnostic lab is under construction in the town of Boaz for producers in northern Alabama.