Following new detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) is launching a service to keep bird owners informed of health threats to their flocks.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently reported that the virus had been confirmed in two broiler operations of 43,600 and 19,000 birds in Weakley County. As of Jan. 3, 57.82 million birds in the U.S. have been affected.
The program was launched prior to the two commercial cases when a backyard flock recently tested positive for the virus.
“We hate to see this illness affecting another farmer in Tennessee,” said Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty. “As we work with this producer and our partners to contain this outbreak to one facility, we are also considering how best to share information with bird owners. The new email notification system—The Word on Birds—aims to inform bird owners of health threats to backyard poultry flocks and pet birds.”
People can sign up to receive email alerts from TDA focused on the health of domesticated birds in Tennessee. Notices may include, but are not limited to, new HPAI detections, changes to movement or sales requirements, and other issues affecting the well-being of domesticated birds.
In Weakley County, animal health officials established a 20 kilometer (12.4 mile) zone surrounding the affected facilitys. Within the zone, commercial poultry will be tested and monitored for illness and movement of commercial poultry requires permitting until the zone is released.
HPAI is a highly transmissible disease known to be deadly for domesticated fowl. Fowl can be exposed to HPAI through human interactions and through contact with wild birds. This year, cases in Tennessee have sickened domesticated chickens, geese, and ducks in Obion, Tipton, Bledsoe, and Davidson Counties. There have also been confirmed cases of HPAI in wild birds, including ducks, geese, and eagles.
Nationally, sick or dead farm birds can be reported to USDA at 1-866-536-7593.