Bird flu: 73,000 birds to be slaughtered in Tennessee

Saturday, March 25, 2017
By Paul Martin

by: Jude Henry
Saturday, March 25, 2017

ading to a cascade of unfortunate events. At a farm in Tennessee, upwards of 73,000 birds are scheduled to be killed because of the possible existence of H7 avian influenza, also known as HPAI, a type of bird flu virus.

The seemingly severe action was considered necessary because of how extremely contagious bird flu is. It can spread to humans, but the risk posed to people is considered low. However, if it does spread to humans, it can be deadly.

The outbreak marks a couple of milestones: It is the first bird flu incident in 2017, and the first time that HPAI has occurred in the state of Tennessee.

The affected birds are at a Lincoln County farm, which is under quarantine and part of the Tyson Foods supply. Tyson is the biggest poultry producer in the United States, with 30 other farms near that one also under quarantine. The birds are being tested for the presence of bird flu.

Bird flu spreads when birds that are infected with the illness slough off traces of the flu in secretions that come from their nasal area, or their saliva and feces. Other birds become infected when they come into contact with those secretions, either through direct contact with other birds or through contact with surfaces that the infected birds have touched. Human infection happens in a similar way.

There are two categories of bird flu: highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A viruses and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) A viruses. When birds become infected with HPAI, the illness can be severe. The rate of death can also be high. Both HPAI and LPAI can spread rapidly.

Track record of problems with bird flu

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