Bird Flu Confirmed in Commercial Chicken Flock in Tennessee

March 6th 2017

Commercial chicken farm hit with H7 avian influenza.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed a highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.

The confirmed HPAI case in commercial poultry is the first in the United States this year, according to apress release. The flock consists of 73,500 chickens and is located within the Mississippi flyway.

Samples from the flock—–which had an increase in mortality––were tested at Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL). According to the release, virus isolation is ongoing and the NVSL expects to characterize the neuraminidase protein of the virus within 48 hours.

State officials have quarantined the affected premises, and the birds will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. The birds from the infected flock will not enter the food system.

“The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions to prevent illness and contain disease spread,” the release stated. “As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 °F kills bacteria and viruses.”

As part of existingavian influenzaresponse plans, Federal and State partners are working together on additional surveillance and testing in the area nearby. The USDA is working with its partners to actively look for disease in commercial poultry, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations.

“These virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick,” the release stated. “People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.”

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