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08 March 2017, 12:43 | Violet Powell
Bird flu found at Tyson Foods chicken supplier
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture confirmed yesterday that a flock of chicken from a commercial farm in Lincoln County was ill with a strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
It's the first confirmed bird flu case at a commercial farm this year. That said, deadly human flu pandemics have been sparked by viruses that first emerged in birds, and health officials closely track what's killing poultry. 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. Tyson Foods, Inc. says that this won't disrupt its chicken business and that it will still meet customers' needs.
All chickens on the farm will culled to prevent the spread of the disease. Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer, cracked down on the movement of people and vehicles into its facilities, the news service said.
The commercial breeder where the outbreak was detected supplies Tyson Foods, but officials have declined to identify the breeder. The USDA report said 84,000 birds are at the farm.
State and federal agriculture officials are warning Delmarva poultry growers to take extra precautions after a bird flu outbreak in Tennessee. Other flocks in the quarantined area are being tested for the virus, it added.
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"Animal health is our top priority", state veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher, DVM said in the release.
The particular strain of flu is "highly pathogenic" to chickens, turkeys and ducks, with a mortality rate north of 90 percent. The risk of human infection in poultry outbreaks is low, although in China people have died this winter amid an outbreak of the H7N9 virus in birds.
A strain of avian influenza was discovered in Tennessee's poultry industry, the state's Department of Agriculture announced.
Tyson employees who come in contact with live birds received additional training specifically created to help protect against the spread of avian flu.
According to the CDC, symptoms of avian flu include fever, cough, sore throat and pneumonia and while there are many strains, only the H5, H7 and H10 have been fatal in humans.
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