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article imageBird flu hits second Tyson's poultry flock in Tennessee

By Karen Graham     Mar 17, 2017 in Science
A second commercial poultry farm in Lincoln County, Tennessee has tested positive for the highly contagious H7N9 avian flu virus. The farm is less than 2 miles (3 kilometers) away from another commercial breeder struck by the virus on March 4.
On March 4, the federal government confirmed that an outbreak of a highly virulent avian bird flu, serotype H7N9 HPAI, was detected on a farm in southern Tennessee that supplies birds to Tyson Foods Inc, according to Digital Journal.
All 73,500 birds in the flock 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.
Bloomberg is reporting the latest case also involves a commercial poultry farm contracted by Tyson Foods, according to company spokesman Worth Sparkman. All 55,000 chickens will be destroyed to prevent any further spread of the virus.
“Given the close proximity of the two premises, this is not unexpected,” Charles Hatcher, Tennessee state veterinarian, said in the statement. “We will continue to execute our plan, working quickly to prevent the virus from spreading further.”
Tyson Foods also released a statement, reports Food Dive, saying: “All flocks located within a six-mile radius of the original farm will be tested and will not be transported unless they test negative for the virus. We don’t expect disruptions to our chicken business and plan to meet our customers’ needs."
A commercial meat chicken production house in Florida  USA. April 3  2008.
A commercial meat chicken production house in Florida, USA. April 3, 2008.
Larry Rana-USDA
Shares in Tyson Foods fell 1.7 percent to close at $62 on Thursday, as well as Sanderson Farms, with a decline of 1.6 percent and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. with a drop of 1.0 percent. With avian flu being battled across Europe and Asia, surprisingly, Brazil, the world's leading chicken exporter, has remained free of the disease. Shares of Brazil's largest exporting company, BRF SA, rose 4.5 percent on Thursday after news of the second Tennessee farm went public.
In related news, Alabama's state agriculture department released a statement on Thursday about the three cases of suspected bird flu in the northern part of the state. One was a commercial chicken-breeding facility, while the others were a backyard poultry flock and a flea market, according to Digital Journal. All three cases are confirmed or presumed to be the Low Pathogenic strain of the avian flu virus.
More about Avian flu, Tyson foods, commercial poutry farm, Lincoln county, Tennessee
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