'Deadly' bird flu outbreak on USA chicken farm

'Deadly' bird flu outbreak on USA chicken farm

'Deadly' bird flu outbreak on USA chicken farm

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture said it was liaising directly with poultry workers at the affect facility to ensure they were taking proper safety precautions to prevent illness and disease spread.

The worst-ever USA outbreak of avian flu in 2014 and 2015 killed about 50 million birds, most of which were egg-laying hens in Iowa, but left the southeastern United States largely unscathed. The highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza, or HPAI, is of wild bird lineage, officials said.

A strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was detected on a chicken flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.

The facility is under quarantine, along with approximately 30 other poultry farms within a 10 kilometer radius (6.2 miles) of the site. The food giant said it did not expect that this would disrupt its chicken business. It led to the destruction of almost 50 million birds to stem the spread of the disease to other flocks, sending the cost of eggs and turkeys skyward.

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. Also, this is not the same strain identified in that outbreak.

Live poultry imports are limited to farm birds from New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

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Most of Lincoln County borders Madison County, Alabama, though the county's western edge borders the eastern-most part of Limestone County.

Sample birds from the affected flock were examined at the Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory in Tennessee and checked at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Iowa. This version of H7 HPAI is confirmed as a North American wild bird lineage.

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.

The farmers of the affected farm have been advised to bury the bodies of the dead chicken, to avoid spreading of the virus.

Tyson employees who come in contact with live birds received additional training specifically created to help protect against the spread of avian flu. The risk of human infection during a poultry outbreak is low, however, people in China have died this winter amid an outbreak of the H7N9 virus in birds. The Maryland Department of Agriculture has avian influenza information on its website including links to a biosecurity self assessment developed by USDA with industry stakeholders.

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