Extremely Contagious Bird Flu Found On Tennessee Chicken Farm

Toni Houston
March 7, 2017

Japan and Taiwan will block poultry from the state, while Hong Kong will restrict imports from the Tennessee county where the infected flock was located, said James Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, a trade group.

"Animal health is our top priority".

Tennessee agriculture officials said the virus does not pose a risk to the food supply, and it is unlikely it will be transmitted to humans although precautions are being taken to monitor workers at the infected facility.

The facility in Tennessee's Lincoln County has been placed under quarantine, along with approximately 30 other poultry farms within a 6.2-mile (10 km) radius of the site, the state said.

Federal and state officials continue to watch bird flocks - both commercial and migratory wild birds - and test them to identify avian flu. At this time, no other facilities are experiencing an increase in mortality rates due to HPAI. Shows were cancelled in 2015 amid concerns raised during a national avian flu outbreak.


Confirmation of the virus is ringing warning bells across the region, where the poultry industry is big business. Backyard flocks are also included. "We cannot keep the waterfowl from coming to Georgia, but we can keep them and this virus from getting into our domestic poultry by practicing strong biosecurity". And in the event a flock does test positive, as in this case, it will not enter the food chain. The disease travels through wild birds and there's a possibility that this outbreak could mean other farms in the area might be affected.

Jennifer Holton is a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

Tennessee's broiler production is the third-largest generator of cash receipts in agriculture for the state, but it is still too small to rank it in the top five USA producing states.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who consulted with the Tennessee Department of Health, agreed that the virus is unlikely to spread widely among people in the USA due to the nature of the virus and the fact that people rarely interact with live poultry.

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