Bird flu outbreak in south-central Tennessee

Published: Mar. 5, 2017 at 6:41 PM CST|Updated: Jun. 6, 2018 at 11:43 AM CDT
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(WAFF) - Agriculture officials say a commercial chicken breeding facility in south-central Tennessee has been hit by a strain of the bird flu.

A statement released by the state Agriculture Department confirmed the presence of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) at a Lincoln County facility.

The unnamed facility reportedly contacted the state veterinarian's office on Friday regarding a recent increase in chicken deaths.

The facility in question and about 30 other poultry farms within a six-mile radius of the site are now under quarantine. No other flocks have experienced an increase in mortality. 

"Animal health is our top priority," state veterinarian, Dr. Charles Hatcher, DVM said. "With this HPAI detection, we are moving quickly and aggressively to prevent the virus from spreading."

Agriculture officials say that HPAI poses no risk to the food supply and that no affected chickens entered the food chain. The risk of human infection with avian influenza is very low, but authorities say they're being very cautious in monitoring the health of those who have worked on site.

"Many Tennessee families rely on the poultry industry for their livelihoods, and the state is working closely with local, county and federal partners and the poultry industry to control the situation and protect the flocks that are critical to our state's economy," Gov. Bill Haslam said.

The source of the outbreak has not yet been determined. Owners of commercial and backyard poultry flocks are encouraged to closely observe their birds.
  • style="color:black;margin-left:0in;">Report a sudden increase in the number of sick birds or bird deaths to the state veterinarian’s office at 615- 837-5120 and/or USDA at 1-866-536-7593
  • style="color:black;margin-left:0in;">Prevent contact with wild birds
  • style="color:black;margin-left:0in;">Practice good biosecurity with your poultry flock
  • style="color:black;margin-left:0in;">Enroll in the National Poultry Improvement Plan  
  • style="color:black;margin-left:0in;">Follow Animal Health Alert updates

This is the first detection of HPAI in the U.S. since an outbreak in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana in January 2016.

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