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article imageSecond outbreak of bird flu confirmed at Middle Tennessee farm

By Karen Graham     Mar 9, 2017 in Science
It didn't take long, but federal and state officials are reporting on Thursday that a second commercial breeding facility chicken flock in Tennessee has been confirmed to be infected with the avian bird flu.
The Associated Press is reporting that a commercial breeding facility in Giles County, Tennessee, which lies south of Nashville and close to the Alabama state line was confirmed by a state veterinarian to test positive for a low-pathogenic strain of the avian flu (H7N9 LPAI).
The company operating the Giles County farm is different from the breeder facility located in Lincoln County that was confirmed on Sunday to have the high pathogenic strain of the (H7N9 HPAI) avian flu. Digital Journal reported on March 7 that the Lincoln County farm had to destroy 73,500 birds, while a turkey farm in Wisconsin had to put down 84,000 birds because they were infected with a Low Pathogenic strain of the H5N2 avian flu virus.
As a precaution, the entire Giles County chicken flock was humanely destroyed and buried. The farm has been quarantined and any poultry within a 6.2-mile radius of the affected farm have been put under quarantine and are being tested and monitored, reports the Times Free Press.
"This is why we test and monitor for avian influenza," State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. "When routine testing showed a problem at this facility, the operators immediately took action and notified our lab. That fast response is critical to stopping the spread of this virus."
Influenza A H7N9 as viewed through an electron microscope. Both filaments and spheres are observed i...
Influenza A H7N9 as viewed through an electron microscope. Both filaments and spheres are observed in this photo
The USDA's chief veterinary officer, Jack Shere, said on Thursday that the agency only has $80 million to $90 million left over from the last major outbreak of bird flu to fight any new discoveries of the virus popping up this year. If additional money is needed, the USDA would have to appeal to Congress.
However, any potential request for additional funding from the government is complicated by the fact that President Trump's choice to head the USDA has not been confirmed by Congress yet. Trump's choice for the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine.
"It would be more streamlined of course if there was a secretary here," Jack Shere, USDA's chief veterinary officer said in an interview.
Marcus Rust, a member of Trump’s agricultural advisory committee and chief executive of Rose Acre Farms, the second-biggest U.S. egg producer said, "When we have outbreaks of bird flu happening all over the world, we need someone with his background and knowledge in the office ASAP."
More about Avian flu, H7N9 LPAI, USDA budget, commercial facility, Precautions
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