Tennessee preps for avian flu - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tennessee preps for avian flu

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Tennessee is preparing for the outbreak of high path avian influenza, which is considered one of the most costly animal health disasters in American history. 

Although HPAI has not been detected in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is taking measures to prepare. 

Three staffers from the department recently returned from Minnesota, where they assisted with the efforts to stop the spread of the illness. 

Veterinary medical officer Dr. Doug Balthaser and animal health technicians Wes Montooth and Marshall LaFever were dispatched to Willmar, MN, considered to be a central area addressing HPAI.

Dr. Balthaser served as a liaison between state and federal officials and producers to complete inspections and assist with paperwork. “The magnitude of this outbreak becomes clear when you consider the area where the virus has spread,” Dr. Balthaser said. “You have cases 30 miles south of Willmar all the way up to northern Minnesota.”

Montooth and LaFever collected samples from poultry in the affected area. They covered thousands of miles to test multiple backyard flocks. “They hit the ground running with backyard surveillance testing and really did Tennessee proud,” Dr. Jacob Davis with USDA.

This strain is not known to be communicable to humans, and currently is not posing a threat to the food supply. It is deadly for domesticated fowl.  

As a precaution, a State Veterinarian’s Order has been issued requiring that effective August 1, all out of state birds transported to Tennessee must have proof of a negative AI test within 21 days of movement or National Poultry Improvement Plan AI Clean certification.

If avian flu is detected, Tennessee has prepared a multi-agency response plan which includes quarantine, testing, disposal, cleaning, disinfection and monitoring in affected areas.

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