PRESS RELEASE 

Thursday, March 9, 2017                                                                 Contact: Jesse Skaggs 334-240-3728


Second Case of Avian Influenza Found in Tennessee

 

Montgomery, AL – Today the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher confirmed that a flock of chickens at a commercial poultry facility tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).                                                     

This breeder chicken facility located in Giles County, Tenn., is operated by a different company than the one associated with the recent detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Lincoln County. At this time, there is no known connection between the two sites. 

“As part of Alabama’s HPAI Preparedness and Response Plan we continue to test and monitor for avian influenza on a daily basis,” Alabama State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier stated. “The immediate response the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) has taken is critical to stopping the spread of this virus into Alabama.” 

As a precaution, the affected flock was depopulated immediately and has been properly disposed of. The facility is under quarantine, along with one other commercial farm and all backyard poultry flocks within a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the site.  TDA and federal officials are working together to test and monitor other flocks within the quarantined control zone. To date, all additional samples have tested negative for avian influenza and no other flocks within the area have experienced an increase in mortality. 

According to the TDA, on March 6, officials at the commercial breeder operation in Giles County performed routine screening tests on the flock that indicated the presence of the virus. Testing at state and federal laboratories confirmed the presence of LPAI in samples from that flock. 

The Lincoln County facility affected by HPAI also remains under quarantine. To date, all additional samples from the Lincoln County quarantined control zone have tested negative for avian influenza and no other flocks within the area have experienced an increase in mortality. Testing and monitoring continues. 

”We are staying in constant communication with appropriate state and federal agencies as well as poultry industry stakeholders to keep a watchful eye on the situation currently unfolding,” says Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan. ”Dr. Frazier and our staff have always been focused on animal health and disease prevention. Each year, our four diagnostic labs located in Alabama test over 400,000 blood samples for avian influenza for this very purpose.” Protocols for quarantine, testing, disposal, cleaning, disinfection and monitoring are in place. 

Dr. Frazier has been working closely with Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Hatcher and encourages commercial poultry producers and backyard flock owners to observe their birds closely and continue to practice strict biosecurity measures. 

These include:
·        Isolating birds from other animals

·        Wearing clothing designated for use only at the poultry house 

·        Minimizing access to people and equipment that has not been sanitized 

·        Keeping the area around the poultry buildings clean and uninviting to wild birds and animals 

·        Sanitizing the facility between flocks 

·        Cleaning equipment entering and leaving the farm 

·        Having an all in, all out policy regarding the placement and removal of the poultry 

·        Properly disposing of bedding material and mortalities 

·        Avoiding contact with migratory waterfowl 

Dr. Frazier reminds all poultry owners and producers to strictly adhere to the biosecurity guidelines listed above.  During this time, backyard flock owners should refrain from moving birds offsite or introducing new birds to their flocks. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ Poultry Division is available to answer any questions concerning the movement of poultry and should be notified at 334-240-6584 if birds show unusual signs of disease (flu-like symptoms) or a flock experiences inexplicable mortalities. 

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has created a website to assist backyard flock owners with maintaining healthy birds and to provide answers for Avian Influenza control.  It can be found at www.AlabamaAvianInfluenza.com.