Outbreak of bird flu reported in Tennessee chickens

USDA Confirms Bird Flu Found at Tennessee Chicken Farm
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08 March, 2017

South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong have limited imports of US poultry after the United States detected its first case this year of avian flu on a commercial chicken farm, South Korea's government and a USA trade group said on Monday.

A deadly form of bird flu has been confirmed in a southern Tennessee chicken flock, prompting Singapore and South Korea to suspend the imports of live poultry from the USA state.

"In 2014 and 2015, during a widespread outbreak of HPAI, the United States killed almost 50 million birds, mostly egg-laying hens", reports Reuters.

None of the affected birds from the Tennessee flock will enter into the food system.

South Korea will stop importing eggs and poultry from the United States on confirmed outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in an American chicken farm. "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".

Another outbreak also means killing or culling of the birds.

The source of the Lincoln County virus has not yet been determined. "It's a bird health issue and not a food safety or human health concern".

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Delmarva chicken growers are being put on notice about avian flu after the discovery during the weekend that a flock had become infected in Tennessee.

Tyson collected samples from an Alabama farm in the zone, and they tested negative for the virus, according to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

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

Wild birds, such as ducks, can carry avian flu without showing symptoms of it and spread it to commercial farms through feces or feathers.

All of the 73,500 chickens at the farm will be killed and none of them will be used for food. The highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza, or HPAI, can be deadly to chickens and turkeys.

"Although this is a situation no state wants to face, Tennessee has been actively preparing to respond to HPAI since it was first identified as a threat", said Jai Templeton, Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture.

There have been no cases of bird flu in MI this year. The H7 HPAI virus can infect humans, though it is uncommon and most likely to occur in people with direct contact with infected birds.

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