UPDATE: Bird flu confirmed in Tennessee chicken breeding facilit - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Bird flu confirmed in Tennessee chicken breeding facility

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UPDATE: Tennessee's state veterinarian confirms that a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has sickened a second commercial chicken breeder flock within the existing controlled quarantined zone in Lincoln County, TN.

Dr. Charles Hatcher says “Wild birds can carry this strain of avian influenza. Given the close proximity of the two premises, this is not unexpected. We will continue to execute our plan, working quickly to prevent the virus from spreading further.”

On March 14, samples taken from the flock tested positive for avian influenza. Following federal laboratory confirmation of H7N9 HPAI, officials began depopulation of the affected premises.

Earlier this week, three potential cases were discovered in nearby Alabama, in Jackson, Lauderdale and Madison counties.

On March 4, the first confirmed detection of H7N9 HPAI occurred in a commercial poultry flock in Lincoln County, according to the state. 

On March 8, a commercial poultry flock in Giles County tested positive for H7N9 low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). 

Due to the contagious nature of avian influenza and its threat to domesticated poultry, the best way to contain the virus is to depopulate affected flocks and then disinfect affected premises.
Neither HPAI nor LPAI pose a risk to the food supply, according to the state. 

No affected animals entered the food chain. The Tennessee Department of Health confirms that the risk of a human becoming ill with avian influenza during poultry illness incidents is very low. 

This virus is not the same as the China H7N9 virus affecting Asia and is genetically different.
The primary difference between LPAI and HPAI is mortality rate in domesticated poultry. A slight change to the viral structure can make a virus deadly for birds. Avian influenza virus strains often occur naturally in wild migratory birds without causing illness in those birds. With LPAI, domesticated chickens and turkeys may show little or no signs of illness. However, HPAI is often fatal for domesticated poultry.

The state veterinarian has issued a poultry health advisory for Tennessee and recommends the following: 

The state veterinarian and staff are focused on animal health and disease prevention. Each year, the Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory tests approximately 22,000 samples from poultry for avian influenza. Since March 3, the lab has tested more than 1,500 samples.

PREVIOUS STORY: NASHVILLE (AP) - Agriculture officials say a commercial chicken breeding facility in south-central Tennessee has been hit by a strain of bird flu.

The state Agriculture Department says in a news release that tests confirmed the presence of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, at a facility in Lincoln County. The facility alerted the state veterinarian's office on Friday about an increase in chicken deaths.

The statement did not name the facility. The facility and about 30 other poultry farms within about a six-mile radius of the site are under quarantine.

Officials said HPAI poses no risk to the food supply, and no affected chickens entered the food chain.     

The statement says the most recent U.S. detection of HPAI was in January 2016 in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana.

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