Poultry farmers urged to take precautions after bird flu outbreak

At Tyson Foods, veterinarians detected another strain of the flu, highly pathogenic avian influence (HPAI).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that "highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza" was found in a commercial chicken flock in Tennessee, within the MS flyway.

Tyson, the nation's leading chicken meat producer, said in a statement that it was working with state and federal officials to contain HPAI by culling the birds on the farm.

Sick birds or unusual bird deaths can be reported to the state veterinarian at 828-2421 or to USDA at 1-866-536-7593.

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Avian influenza, or blue flu, is caused by an influenza type A virus, is carried by ducks, geese and shorebirds and can infect poultry such as turkeys, ducks, quails and chickens. Routine screening tests Monday at a farm in Giles County indicated avian influenza.

CDC considers the risk to the public's health from this North American H7N9 virus outbreak in commercial poultry to be low. Other signs include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, lack of coordination or paralysis, diarrhea, particularly green in color, ruffled feathers, lethargic and poor appetite, and drop in egg production or softshell or misshapen eggs.

State agriculture officials released the results today.

Another flock of chickens in Tennessee has tested positive for the bird flu.

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SC has had no known cases of the disease, but Parr is advising the state's poultry producers to stay vigilant.

The chickens in Giles County have now been killed and buried as well. Wild birds were less vulnerable to the disease, but when it reached a poultry flock, birds started dying immediately.

Tennessee officials said the difference between HPAI and LPAI is in the bird mortality rate, and both strains are common among migratory birds in North America. In fact, the shares have fallen nearly 2.6% to $61.92 as of Mar 8, 2017 since the news of bird flu broke out on Mar 5, 2017.

The spread of highly pathogenic flu would represent a financial blow for poultry operators because it would kill more birds or require flocks to be culled.

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Since wild waterfowl are considered the main reservoirs of bird flu, farmers and scientists get nervous when birds are migrating.


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