I just spoke to the Avian Pathologist at NC State and he confirmed that the 5 chicks I brought to him had Avian Encephalomyelitis. He was very definite about his diagnosis, he said he was certain. The virus is passed from an infected hen to the egg.....then the chick gets it when it hatches and it spreads among other chicks through droppings. Hens may have the virus but they do not show symptoms.......but if they lay an egg that is then hatched, the chick will show the symptoms. Then, the infected chicks pass it to their brooder-mates through droppings. The chicks we have that are still alive have been exposed to AE and almost certainly have the virus, even if they are not showing symptoms. At this point (3 1/2 weeks old) if they are not showing symptoms, he said that they probably will not ever show symptoms. However.......they will not be good layers and, as I said before, if they lay an egg that is hatched, the chick will show the symptoms. (And consequently continue to spread the virus.) AE is a reportable disease in North Carolina. He said he has already talked with the USDA and they may be calling me to get some information. He will be sending me an official report tomorrow, and then I will call Murray McMurray to ask for a total refund. I can't imagine that they will refuse. I am planning to euthanize the few chicks I have left. I went in on an order with 4 other people and I haven't heard from them yet whether they are going to keep the remaining chicks or not. I'd be happy to discuss anymore if someone wants to PM or email me.