On Sunday, the US Department of Agriculture and state government agencies said that they have found a strain of bird flu in a commercial chicken farm in Tennessee.
Bird flu outbreak:
According to the USDA, the H7 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), was found in a flock of 73,500 chickens in Lincoln County located in the central Tennessee on the border with Alabama.
On Friday, the farm had alerted authorities that a large number of chickens were dying
Tyson Foods who contracts with the owner of the farm where the virus was found said that they are responding aggressively. “We’re working with state and federal officials to contain the virus by euthanizing chickens located on the farm. All flocks located within a 6-mile radius of the farm will be tested and will not be transported unless they test negative for the virus.”
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said that birds on the property will be emptied to stop the spread of the disease and that birds from the flock will not enter the food system.
As per the USDA, this is the first known case of HPAI in a commercial poultry facility this year in the United States. And the state of Tennessee noted that this is the first HPAI case in the state.
A commercial turkey farm in Dubois County, Indiana tested positive for the H7N8 strain of avian influenza in January 2016.
On the subject of the latest outbreak, the USDA said that these virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick, that people should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife, and that if contact occurs, people should wash their hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
The Tennessee statement said that this kind of bird flu doesn’t pose a risk to the food supply and that the risk of human infection during bird flu outbreaks is low.
An international disease:
Bird flu is a big international problem. According to the World Health Organization, 460 people in China have had confirmed infections of avian influenza since October. In Canada, a man died from bird flu in 2014, and in 2015 millions of birds were euthanized after an outbreak in Iowa.
Usually, only birds are affected by bird flu. Cases of human bird flu infections mostly occur due to contact with infected poultry or surfaces that are contaminated with infected bird excretions: saliva, nasal secretions and feces.
Fever, cough, and sore throat are usually the symptoms of avian flu, however, they can sometimes include severe respiratory diseases and pneumonia.
Strains of avian flu are numerous; 9 N subtypes and 16 H subtypes. Deaths in humans were caused only by those labeled H5, H7 and H10.