US Identifies Bird Flu Outbreak at Tennessee Chicken Breeder

The disease travels through wild birds and there's a possibility that this outbreak could mean other farms in the area might be affected.

It's important to contain the disease's spread, especially as Tennessee shares borders with several large chicken-meat producing states, Bloomberg points out, including Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and North Carolina.

They are also urged to keep the area around the poultry buildings clean, sanitize their facility between flocks, clean equipment coming and going out, and property dispose of bedding material and dead chickens.

"Based on the limited scope known to us at this time, we don't expect disruptions to our chicken business and plan to meet our customers' needs", Worth Sparkman, a spokesman for Tyson, the largest USA chicken producer, said in an email Monday. The USDA said Monday that it does not yet know what type of H7 bird flu is affecting the chickens at Tennessee, but will know within 48 hours. The losses pushed USA egg prices to record highs and prompted trading partners to ban imports of American poultry, even though there was little infection then in the broiler industry.

USDA officials work fast to eliminate a flock of poultry that has been exposed to avian flu, usually destroying the carcasses of infected birds within 24 hours of the first detection.

No people were affected during that outbreak, which was primarily of the H5N2 strain.

In recent months, different strains of bird flu have been confirmed across Asia and in Europe.

The statement said the most recent US detection of HPAI was in January 2016 in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana. So far, no other flocks have seen an increase in deaths.

State officials are directing MI poultry producers to follow their bird flu prevention procedures. Chicken flocks are culled as a preventive measure, often boosting the price of chicken and eggs at the supermarket.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said 73,500 chickens are in the facility's flock. A quarantine has also been put in place around the farm.

The USDA has placed that facility and 30 other poultry facilities in a six-mile radius under quarantine, and prohibited chicken from the afflicted facility from entering the American food supply. Risk of human infection remains low, Tennessee state health officials told CNN.

  • Lila Blake