On March 15, Tennessee’s state veterinarian issued a health advisory urging all poultry owners to take extra precautions to protect their flocks from avian influenza.

“We are working to protect the poultry population from exposure to avian influenza,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. “The best way to protect your birds is to increase your biosecurity measures and particularly, to keep your birds at home for now.”

Dr. Hatcher advises owners of backyard and commercial flocks to avoid transporting or comingling birds. That would include, but is not limited to, avoidance of poultry exhibitions, shows or sales at fairs, festivals, flea markets or auctions.

“We know that wild birds can carry avian influenza and that it is likely naturally circulating in the environment right now,” Dr. Hatcher continued. “We expect this threat to diminish over time as migratory patterns change with consistently warmer weather.”

Confirmed cases of avian influenza in Tennessee

This advisory is in response to the confirmed detection of H7N9 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) at a commercial poultry premises in Lincoln County, Tennessee, USA on March 4.

On March 8, officials confirmed the detection of H79N low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) at a commercial poultry premises in Giles County, Tennessee, USA. This virus is not the same as the China H7N9 virus affecting Asia and is genetically distinct.

State and federal officials continue to monitor and test poultry located in the areas immediately surrounding the two affected premises.

Track 2017 avian flu outbreaks in North American poultry

To help poultry growers and producers monitor these outbreaks of avian influenza, WATTAgNet has again created an interactive map tracking cases confirmed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in North America in 2017: https://batchgeo.com/map/2017-avian-influenza-outbreaks.

Alabama investigates 3 potential avian influenza cases

On March 14, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) issued a stop movement order for certain poultry in the U.S. state, after three potential cases of avian influenza were identified. The order halts movement of birds to poultry shows, swap meets, flea markets and poultry auctions.

Precautions for Tenneessee poultry owners

Owners of commercial and backyard poultry flocks are encouraged to observe closely their birds.

No risk to food supply

Neither LPAI nor HPAI pose a risk to the food supply. No affected animals entered the food chain. Furthermore, the Tennessee Department of Health confirms that the risk of a human becoming ill with avian influenza during poultry illness incidents is very low.