The Department of Agriculture is in the process of destroying 73,500 birds at one Tennessee farm after investigators found some of the birds had the deadly avian influenza virus. "All flocks located within a 6-mile radius of the farm will be tested and will not be transported unless they test negative for the virus".
Over 73K birds at the farm will be euthanized in order to stop the HPAI bird flu from spreading.
The US South-east was largely spared bird flu during the last major US outbreak, which was centred around turkey and egg farms in the Midwest and led to the death of more than 48 million birds until mid-2015 from either infection or culling.
No humans were affected in that outbreak. It led to the destruction of almost 50 million birds to stem the spread of the disease to other flocks, sending the cost of eggs and turkeys skyward.
In a previous account of HPAI in 2014 and 2015, the USA was forced to kill nearly 50 million chickens. The losses pushed US egg prices to record highs and prompted trading partners to ban imports of USA poultry.
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An unidentified commercial chicken facility in Lincoln County alerted the agency after noticing an unusual number chickens dying.
The ban, however, will not be implemented on birds or poultry products from the two USA states that had already been loaded aboard ships or planes destined for Taiwan prior to Monday, according to the bureau. About 30 nearby poultry farms are also under quarantine, although none have reported an increase in mortality, the department said. Officials are monitoring flocks within the quarantined area and "depopulating" the infected flock. Perdue Farms Inc., another large US producer, has no live production in Tennessee, spokeswoman Andrea Staub said in an email.
Alabama officials said HPAI does not "pose a risk to the food supply" and no affected animals entered the food chain.
Holton insists this is not a "food safety concern", adding people should continue to buy chicken, turkey and eggs.
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