Health Care

Bird flu detected on Tennessee chicken farm

Bird flu detected on Tennessee chicken farm”

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture confirmed yesterday that a flock of chicken from a commercial farm in Lincoln County was ill with a strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Health officials said the risk of avian influenza spreading to people or making food unsafe was extremely remote. It was the first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza to strike a commercial poultry flock in more than a year.

Shere said a sweep of approximately 30 other poultry farms within a 6.2 mile radius of the site has turned up no signs of bird flu. Tyson said in a statement that this case should not disrupt its chicken business. "The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations".

Sanderson Farms Inc, the third-largest US poultry producer, cracked down on the movement of people and vehicles into its facilities, said Mike Cockrell, chief financial officer. The USDA said there are 73,500 birds in the flock, which will be destroyed to keep them out of the food chain.

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Tyson, the country's largest poultry processor stressed the situation was "a bird health issue and not a food safety or human health concern".

"Animal health is our top priority", the state veterinarian, Dr. Charles Hatcher, said.

HPAI bird flu was last found in a commercial turkey flock in IN in January 2016.

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All told in Minnesota, more than 9 million birds were either killed by the disease or euthanized to prevent its spread during the 2015 outbreak.

Commissioner John McMillan assured Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton that Alabama officials would continue to work closely with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Reuters reports that a bird flu outbreak in China over this winter has led to at least four deaths. One possibility is that the virus could have spread among wild birds that migrated through the area and infected the poultry, Schaffner said.

Stacey Hoffman, a spokeswoman with the Delaware Department of Agriculture, said growers should register their flock with the state so they can be monitored to prevent an outbreak.

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