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Chickens Slaughtered on Tennessee Bird Flu Farm

by 5m Editor
7 May 2009, at 7:09am

TENNESSEE, US - More than 15,000 chickens were destroyed over last weekend on the farm infected with low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). Infected poultry has not entered food supply.

More than 15,000 Giles County chickens were killed over the weekend in an effort to safeguard poultry against avian flu, according to Columbia Daily Herald, reporting from Pulaski.

Tom Womack, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, said the low-pathogenic strain detected at a farm in Giles County poses a minimal risk to human health and is not associated with human and poultry outbreaks in other countries. It also is not related to the H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as the swine flu.

"It is primarily an economic issue for the poultry industry," Mr Womack said. "These precautions are being taken so we don't cause contamination to other area poultry."

He added that the chickens were killed in a 'humane manner', using a foam that rendered the birds unconscious. The chickens were buried on the farm in accordance with US Department of Agriculture guidelines. The chicken houses will now be decontaminated to kill any of the remaining virus, a process that could take as long as 21 days.

Mr Womack declined to release the flock owner's name, citing concerns that identifying the farm would attract visitors and unfairly affect its business. The affected farm produces breeding stock, and the birds have not entered the food supply, he said.

State agriculture officials also visited neighbours living in a three-mile radius of the farm and will test other birds in the area for exposure. Results are expected later this week.

Because the farm participates in a national avian flu programme, it will be reimbursed by the USDA for the estimated value of the birds, burial and clean-up, Mr Womack said. The total operation is expected to cost more than $100,000.

Routine surveillance indicated the possibility of the avian flu in Giles County on 24 April. Further testing by the USDA confirmed the preliminary results.

Low-pathogenic avian flu is usually associated with mild illness in poultry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Low-pathogenic avian flu has the potential to evolve into a more deadly and rarer highly pathogenic strain, according to the CDC.

Agriculture officials also found a low-pathogenic strain on a poultry farm in Lincoln County but there is no apparent connection. That farm also provides breeding stock for poultry farms, and none of the birds has entered the food supply, reports Columbia Daily Herald.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.