According to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a commercial flock in the western portion of the state.

Commercial Chicken Farm

The H5N1 virus, a highly pathogenic avian influenza - commonly referred to as "bird flu" - has been detected in a flock of commercial broiler chickens located in Weakley County, Tennessee. The chickens were tested after a sudden spike in avian deaths. It was confirmed through those tests that the flock had been impacted by the H5N1 virus. According to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture,

Since September of 2022, HPAI cases in Tennessee have sickened domesticated chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys in Bledsoe, Davidson, Obion, Tipton, and Weakley Counties. HPAI has also been found in wild birds, including ducks, geese, vultures, and eagles in Tennessee.


Taking Precautions

As a precaution and in hopes of inhibiting the spread of the virus, a control zone spanning more than 6 miles has been established around the impacted facility. They say that poultry housed within that zone will be subjected to testing. Individuals within the zone who own poultry can expect to be contacted by appropriate authorities. For those who have concerns,

If you have concerns about your location, please email or call 615-837-5120 and staff will help determine if your flock is within the zone.

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What Is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Are Humans at Risk?

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, is a type of Influenza virus that poses little threat to humans, according to the CDC. However rare, transmission to humans is possible under certain circumstances.

Direct infection can occur from exposure to saliva, mucous, or feces from infected birds. Bird flu infections among people are rare; however, human infections can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, or is inhaled. People with close or prolonged unprotected contact (not wearing respiratory and eye protection) with infected birds or places that sick birds or their mucous, saliva, or feces have contaminated, might be at greater risk of bird flu virus infection.

Photo by Zoe Schaeffer on Unsplash

Tennessee's Role in Poultry

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture points out that there are over 600 family farms across the state that contribute to the industry of commercial poultry.

The state is a global leader for primary breeders, and an estimated 45 percent of the chicken consumed worldwide traces to genetics from Tennessee operations. Broiler chickens are among the state's top agricultural commodities, generating $376.2 million in cash receipts in 2021.

Driving Inflation

There is no doubt that the H5N1 virus is contributing to the continuing rise in poultry and egg prices across the country. Back in December, more than 38,000 birds were euthanized in Indiana after an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

[Source: Tennessee Department of Agriculture]

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