Animal health officials in Kentucky and Tennessee are working together, following the confirmation of the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial broiler flock in Fulton County, Kentucky.

On February 14, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that HPAI had been confirmed in the flock.

According to a press release from KDA, the state agency was notified that the flock had been experiencing an increase in mortality, which resulted in the testing of the birds. The presence of HPAI was confirmed when those tests were sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

A suspect case has also been reported in a turkey flock in Webster County, but those test results have not yet been confirmed.

“We are working diligently to prevent this virus from spreading to other poultry premises,” said Kentucky State Veterinarian Dr. Katie Flynn. “We have activated our avian influenza response plan and are in active communication with state, federal and industry partners.”

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The affected premises has been quarantined, and federal and state partners are working on additional surveillance and testing of commercial and backyard poultry flocks in the area. An incident command center has been established in Fulton County for the participating agencies to continue to gather information.

As part of the avian influenza response, a 10-kilometer surveillance zone has been set up around the affected properties. Since the 10-kilometer zone surrounding the Fulton County property stretches into Tennesseee, the KDA and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) are coordinating with one another on the incident response.

“It’s critical that we work together to prevent the spread of the  virus,” said Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty. “We will begin testing and surveillance of commercial and backyard flocks within the surveillance zone immediately. In Tennessee, poultry owners should report unexpected deaths to the state vet’s office.”

The Fulton County case is the second commercial poultry flock confirmed to have  contracted HPAI. Last week, HPAI was detected in a flock of commercial turkeys in Dubois County, Indiana. That flock consisted of 29,000 turkeys.

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.