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article imageAvian flu in Wisconsin - The second outbreak in less than a week

By Karen Graham     Mar 7, 2017 in Food
The United States is reporting a second outbreak of avian flu, this time on a farm in Wisconsin. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Tuesday the virus found in Wisconsin isn't as virulent as the virus found in Tennessee the other day,
Chicken and egg producers are ramping up their safety procedures after the federal government confirmed on Monday that an outbreak of a highly virulent avian bird flu, serotype H7, was detected on a farm in southern Tennessee that supplies birds to Tyson Foods Inc.
All 73,500 birds in the flock there were killed by the disease, known as avian influenza (AI), or have since been suffocated with foam to prevent its spread. The farm housed roosters and hens that produce fertilized eggs which hatch into "broiler" chickens raised for their meat.
This outbreak has raised concerns over the spread of the deadly virus because the infected farm is near to the nation's largest chicken-for-meat producing states, including Georgia and Alabama, reports Agriculture.com.
"The thing that's worrisome is that it's in the broiler belt," said John Glisson, vice president of research for the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association. "There are so many birds in this part of the world." In Alabama, right across the border from the infected farm, producers there raised over one billion "broiler" chickens in 2015 alone.
Strain of low-virulence avian flu in Wisconsin
A strain of low pathogenic H5N2 avian flu virus has been found in a flock of 84,000 turkeys on a farm in Barron County, Wisconsin, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a report posted on the website of the Paris-based OIE.
The turkey flock was tested after many of the birds showed signs of depression and the infected farm was immediately quarantined. The low pathogenicity strains of the avian flu usually cause very few clinical signs or symptoms in birds while the highly pathogenic strains have high mortality rates.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the H5N2 strain found at the Wisconsin farm was determined to be from North American wild bird origin and distinct from the H5N2 found during the 2015 outbreak. The strain of bird flu that struck the Tennessee farm was also of North American wild bird origin, according to Reuters.
The detection of avian flu in North American flocks has already prompted a number of Asian countries, including South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, to limit imports of U.S. poultry today. In the past several months, strains of bird flu have popped up around the globe, prompting the culling of millions of animals. In China, 110 people have died because of the bird flu.
More about Avian flu, US outbreaks, Tysons foods, Tennessee, Wisconsin
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