Bird Flu Discovered at Chicken Supplier for Tyson Foods

At a chicken farm in Tennessee, officials destroyed tens of thousands of chickens due to an outbreak of bird flu. Thirty other farms that are located within a radius of six miles of that same farm were quarantined.

The United State Department of Agriculture announced that 73,500 chickens had been destroyed at one facility and would not be part of the food system. The H7 avian influenza found can be deadly to both chickens as well as turkeys.

Bird flu has become a phrase that includes a variety of different influenza viruses that can spread amongst poultry. The viruses can be highly contagious as well as deadly amongst birds. However, it is very rare that they spread to humans.

Nevertheless, deadly flu pandemics have taken place due to viruses that emerged first in birds. Health officials closely track the viruses that are killing poultry.

Flu is able to spread to humans from birds via the air, or if people touch an infected bird or a surface that is infected and then touch their nose, mouth or eye.

The Tennessee breeder affected by the current outbreak is a supplier for Tyson Foods. On Monday, the company said it does not expect there will be a disruption to its chicken business, but jitters were felt in Wall Street due to the outbreak.

Tyson stock fell due to the news as did that of other companies in the same sector.

Tyson said it already tests every flock for viruses prior to them leaving farms. Results are known prior to the birds being processed, said the company and the chickens are not used if any bird flu becomes detected from the testing.

The Department of Agriculture in Tennessee would not identify the infected farm where the flu was found and the chicken destroyed, saying just that it had been located in Lincoln County, which is west of Chattanooga and on the border of Alabama.

Just one commercial farm in Alabama is within the radius of six miles, said officials and all birds at that farm tested negative. The farm in Alabama is also a supplier for Tyson.

Alabama officials said it started to test chickens in the backyards of homes within the area affected and all tests to date have come back negative for the flu.

Flu outbreaks have taken place in Europe and China over the past few months, though they are different strains than in Tennessee.

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