USDA uncovers new findings on Tennessee avian flu breakout

Francis Osborne
March 17, 2017

The move comes after one neighboring state, Tennessee, reported bird flu last week near the Alabama border.

She says commercial farms aren't included because their birds are regularly tested and confirmed disease-free before leaving poultry houses. Days later, the state said it had found the other case nearby and it was low pathogenic.

"The health of poultry is critically important at this time, "Frazier said".

The entire backyard flock in Madison County was also depopulated at the owner's request.

"Due to the recent confirmation of avian Influenza in Tennessee and with three investigations of avian influenza in north Alabama, it is hereby ordered that all poultry exhibitions in Alabama are prohibited until this order is lifted by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries", McMillan says.

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Charles Hatcher, DVM, Tennessee's state veterinarian, said wild birds can carry the virus strain. No affected animals entered the food chain.

Another case of avian influenza, also known has bird flu, has been reported in Lincoln County, state officials said on Thursday.

The USDA said Monday that it does not yet know what type of H7 bird flu is affecting the chickens in Tennessee, but will know within 48 hours. Samples from both premises have been sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, and are being tested to determine presence of the virus. "Industry, growers, state and federal agencies and other stakeholders have worked hard to maintain a level of readiness", said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan. Tony Frazier said in a statement issued with the order on Tuesday. On March 8, officials confirmed the detection of H79N low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) at a commercial poultry premises in Giles County. The state is the country's second-largest producer of broilers (chickens bred and raised for meat), and poultry operations employ 85,000 people.

The U.S. southeast was largely spared during the last major American outbreak, which affected turkey and egg farms in the Midwest and led to the death of more than 48 million birds through mid-2015, either from infection or culling.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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