Bird flu found at Tyson chicken farm

Preventing these deadly outbreaks requires reforming how chickens are raised.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture said it was alerted to an increase in the number of chicken deaths at a commercial facility on March 3.

"We have been reading of the spread of bird flu in Asia and Europe, and now to be confirmed here in the U.S.is of serious concern", said Ken Klippen, president of the National Association of Egg Farmers. "With this HPAI detection, we are moving quickly and aggressively to prevent the virus from spreading". At least 30 other poultry farms surrounding the Tennessee facility, contracted by food giant Tyson Farms, within a six-mile radius have been placed under a precautionary quarantine and are in the process of being tested as well. No additional flocks were found to have increased mortality associated with the disease. Additionally, the risk of humans contracting avian flu is very low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry in the United States this year. "Animal health is our top priority". HPAI was last found in the U.S.in an in commercial turkey flock in January 2016.

Tennessee's Department of Agriculture declined to name the breeder and would only say it is located in the state's Lincoln County, just west of Chattanooga. At this point, health officials only know that the current HPAI strain is a N7 virus, but it's expected they will confirm its H status by Monday evening.

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"As part of existing avian influenza response plans, federal and state partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area", the department said.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has created a website to assist backyard flock owners with maintaining healthy birds and to provide answers for avian influenza control.

AVA has suspended the imports of poultry, poultry products, processed eggs and live birds from the Lincoln County in Tennessee, and the 10km restricted area around the affected premises in Barron County, Wisconsin.

The virus found in Tennessee has been identified as an H7 virus, most likely spread from wild birds in North America.

  • Ismael Montgomery