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Bird Flu Detected in Tennessee Chicken Flock

Update Date: Mar 07, 2017 10:45 AM EST

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said last Sunday that a train of bird flu has been found on a commercial farm in Tennessee. 73,500 birds will be euthanized to stop the virus from spreading.

Reuters reported that incident is the first confirmed case of avian influenza in the US this year. According to the USDA, they identified the highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) strain.

The farm holds a contract with the food giant Tyson Foods Inc., the largest meat producer in the US. The company, Tennessee state government and USDA refused to name the affected farm.

Tyson however assured in a press statement that all birds coming from farms within a 6-mile radius from the farm will be tested for the virus before they get transported.

According to CNN, there are many types of bird flu strains: 16 H subtypes and 9 N subtypes. So far those labeled H5, H7, and h10 have caused human casualties. After the widespread outbreak of avian influenza from 2014 and 2015 that prompted killing of over 50 million birds, the USDA have been more aggressive in preventing the spread of the bird flu virus.

The bird flu outbreak from 2 years ago caused tremendous losses American poultry and pushed the prices of eggs to an all time high. The incident in Tennessee is too small to have an impact on pricing on a national scale.

The strain involved during the said outbreak was H5N2 and there were no humans affected at the time.

While bird flu usually affects just birds, the highly pathogenic strains can cause human infections from contact with infected fowls and the surfaces they have infected with bird secretions - saliva, nasal secretions and feces.

The USDA advises to prevent contact with infected poultry. If it cannot be avoided, be sure to wash hands with soap and water and change clothes before having contact with healthy domestic birds and fowls.

Common symptoms of bird flu include cough, sore throat, fever and some cases may involve severe respiratory diseases and pneumonia.

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