NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture issued a statement April 12 officially releasing the control zone around two Lincoln County, Tennessee, poultry farms that tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in March. The department also lifted the poultry health advisory that had been issued for the state of Tennessee. According to the department, “poultry owners can now resume regular activity.”
On March 4, the office of the state veterinarian confirmed that a chicken flock that contracts with Tyson Foods Inc. tested positive for HPAI. The case affected a flock of 73,500 birds. The property was quarantined and animal health officials culled the birds to prevent the spread of the disease and ensure none of the animals entered the food system. On March 16, the same strain was found in an additional flock less than 2 miles (3.2 km) away from the original finding. According to Tyson, it discovered this new case as a part of its follow-up monitoring process to the original case discovered at a breeder farm
Following the two findings, animal health officials established a controlled zone in the 10-km. radius of the affected facilities. According to the department, “Poultry movement was restricted within the zone and birds from commercial and backyard flocks were tested weekly for three weeks. No additional samples have tested positive for avian influenza and testing is now complete.”
State Veterinarian Charles Hatcher said, “We have determined through extensive testing that HPAI has not spread to other poultry flocks in our 10 kilometer control zone. Poultry owners across Tennessee should continue to monitor their flocks and immediately report any spike in illness or death.”
The state veterinarian encourages poultry owners to continue to monitor flock health and offers the following tips:
- Closely observe poultry flocks.
- 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 (866) 536-7593.
- Prevent contact with wild birds.
- Practice good biosecurity.
- Enroll in the National Poultry Improvement Plan.
- Follow Tennessee’s avian influenza updates and access resources for producers and consumers.
Following the March announcement, the US Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) issued a statement reminding members of the importance of biosecurity as an on-farm intervention to prevent the spread of AI. It referenced the availability of resources from the USDA, including a checklist for ensuring enhanced biosecurity.
“With this positive H7NX finding, there is an urgent need for all poultry producers to be vigilant in maintaining biosecurity on farms, particularly wild bird control at this time of year,” John Glisson, DVM, vice president of research programs for USPOULTRY, said in the statement. “The self-assessment tool will help identify any weaknesses on a farm, and numerous resources are identified to address any deficiencies.”