Bird Flu Found At Tyson Foods Chicken Supplier; Tens Of Thousands Of Chickens Destroyed

NEW YORK (WWJ/AP) – Tens of thousands of chickens have been destroyed at a Tennessee chicken farm due to a bird flu outbreak, and 30 other farms within a six-mile radius are being quarantined.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 73,500 chickens were destroyed and will not enter the food system. The highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza, or HPAI, can be deadly to chickens and turkeys.

The breeder supplies Tyson Foods Inc. The company said that it doesn’t expect its chicken business to be disrupted, but shares of the Springdale, Arkansas, food producer slid 3 percent in early trading Monday.

Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture declined to name the breeder and would only say it is located in the state’s Lincoln County, just west of Chattanooga.

According to officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, avian influenza (bird flu) viruses are highly contagious, extremely variable viruses that are widespread in birds – particularly wild waterfowl and shorebirds, with domesticated poultry are also readily infected.

“This particular virus that we’ve identified, it carries a high death rate or mortality rate in poultry, and it has little if any known risk to humans,” said Dr. Charles Hatcher, a veterinarian with the state of Tennessee.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development say, as of today’s date, there have been no cases of HPAI in domestic poultry in Michigan. Back in 2015, precautions were taken in Michigan after multiple cases were reported in other Midwest states, including Minnesota and Wisconsin.

While health experts say bird flu is not a food safety issue, consumers are reminded to always cook their eggs and poultry to the proper temperature.

[For a look at the national picture of HPAI in the U.S., visit the USDA website.  Get the latest information from the state, HERE].

 © Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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