State warns of avian influenza

Mar 11, 2017, 00:35
State warns of avian influenza

On Sunday, the USDA confirmed the farm in Tennessee was infected with highly pathogenic bird flu, making it the first case in a commercial USA operation in more than a year.

This facility is not operated by Tyson Foods who operate the farm identified earlier this week in Lincoln County.

A turkey farm in Wisconsin also reported a less serious case of bird flu, but it didn't require the culling of an entire flock.

"It's in a poultry owner's best interest to take precautions now to minimize the effect that avian influenza will have on their flock if the disease makes its way to Wisconsin", says Dr. Darlene Konkle, Wisconsin's Assistant State Veterinarian.

CDC considers the risk to the public's health from this North American H7N9 virus outbreak in commercial poultry to be low.

In Tennessee, it was the most unsafe category of bird flu, known as a highly pathogenic virus. The Georgia Department of Agriculture continues to be vigilant in surveillance efforts and working with growers in their practice of bio-security measures. No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time.

HPAI is a contagious disease of poultry that causes high mortality in affected flocks.

Another outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed in a chicken flock in south central Tennessee. No affected animals have entered the food chain, and the risk of a human becoming ill with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low.

The Giles County flock was killed and buried, and the farm remains under quarantine, as does the Lincoln County farm.

It is the first confirmed case of the HPAI detected in commercial poultry in the United States so far this year. Wild birds were less vulnerable to the disease, but when it reached a poultry flock, birds started dying immediately.

H7N9 is the same name as a strain of the virus that has killed people in China.

Owners should watch their birds closely and report unexplained illness or death to Clemson University LPH at 803-788-2260, or by visiting clemson.edu/public/reportHPAI. As ducks and geese migrate north for the summer, he said, the danger of a bird flu infection increases.