The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it is working with USDA APHIS and the Tennessee Department of Health to minimize human health risks created by the avian influenza outbreak in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
It is the first confirmed case of the HPAI detected in commercial poultry in the United States so far this year. The protocol involves monitoring the health of poultry workers who were exposed to the outbreak farm flocks. Bird flu is highly contagious in nature and infects the entire flock very quickly.
"These are really stressful times for people", Cardona said.
"We are watching what happens with that virus over in Barron County. but we have done a lot of planning since 2015 and we are confident in our response", Thompson said.
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"These virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick", the USDA said. Though the public health risk is low, the CDC added that there have been a small number of human infections reported in North America from avian H7 viruses. Millions of chickens in Wright County and surrounding areas were destroyed in order to prevent the spread of the disease. "Low-path" strains, as they're known, produce relatively few symptoms in poultry. Jennie-O's statement said that low pathogenic flu like in its flock is common in North America.
The virus found in Tennessee likely mutated to become highly pathogenic from a less risky, low pathogenic form, he said. HPAI is a strain of avian flu that results in disease and death in poultry.
In 2015, a virus existed in wild ducks and geese in its deadliest form, the highly pathogenic variety. "If HPAI does arrive, the potential impact is severe, so we stress immediate reporting of any unexplained poultry mortality".
"They understand this is a high-risk period with the spring migration period, so they're watching their flocks closely and doing additional surveillance to make sure that if anything pops up, they're going to identify it quickly", said Dr. Shauna Voss, senior veterinarian at the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory in Willmar. "Wild waterfowl are natural carriers of the virus and are now migrating north".