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BIRD FLU DETECTED IN TENNESSEE CHICKEN BREEDING PLANT

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Agriculture officials said this afternoon (Sunday, March 5) that a commercial chicken breeding facility in south-central Tennessee has been hit by a strain of bird flu. The state Agriculture Department said in a news release that tests confirmed the presence of the H7 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, at a facility in Lincoln County.

The statement did not name the facility. The facility and about 30 other poultry farms within about a six-mile radius of the site are under quarantine. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said 73,500 chickens are in the facility’s flock. Officials said HPAI poses no risk to the food supply, and no affected chickens entered the food chain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPAI can cause up to 100 percent mortality in flocks, often within 48 hours.

According to the Tennessee Poultry Association, there are more than 1,650 commercial broiler and breeder houses on more than 550 family farms in the state. The state ranks 13th nationally in broiler production and processing with more than 6 million birds per week at five plants.