Health Care

USDA has $80 million-$90 million to fight bird flu

USDA has $80 million-$90 million to fight bird flu

The Associated Press is reporting that a commercial breeding facility in Giles County, Tennessee, which lies south of Nashville and close to the Alabama state line was confirmed by a state veterinarian to test positive for a low-pathogenic strain of the avian flu (H7N9 LPAI).

Neither strain poses a risk to the food supply, officials said, and none of the animals have been processed into the food chain.

Sick birds or unusual bird deaths can be reported to the state veterinarian at 828-2421 or to USDA at 1-866-536-7593. The entire flock of birds in Lincoln County was killed.

"These virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick", the USDA said.

"After a year reprieve, high-path avian influenza is back in the lower 48 states at a commercial poultry operation, and that should be a cause for concern", said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding.

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The heat and dry weather in summer end to stop the spread of virus, like how it is when cold weather covers the area in winter.

Jack Shere, chief veterinary officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said in an interview that there was speculation that the highly pathogenic virus found in Tennessee shared similar characteristics with a low-pathogenic virus that circulated in Tennessee, Kentucky, Minnesota and IL in 2009.

In some regions of the world, bird flu different than found in the United States does affect people. Domesticated poultry within ten kilometers of the Giles County farm is under quarantine.

H7N9 is the same name as a strain of the virus that has killed people in China. Wild birds were less vulnerable to the disease, but when it reached a poultry flock, birds started dying immediately. If they carried a virus from their winter grounds, other birds could carry it to Minnesota. The H7 avian influenza found can be deadly to both chickens as well as turkeys. Results are known prior to the birds being processed, said the company and the chickens are not used if any bird flu becomes detected from the testing. "Wild waterfowl are natural carriers of the virus and are now migrating north".

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