Thousands of chickens euthanized after bird flu detected in Lincoln County

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File photo of chickens in a poultry plant. (Photo: Alabama Cooperative Extension System)

LINCOLN COUNTY, Tenn. – Tens of thousands of chickens have been destroyed at a Tennessee chicken farm due to a bird flu outbreak, and 30 other farms within a six-mile radius are being quarantined.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 73,500 chickens were destroyed and will not enter the food system. The highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza, or HPAI, can be deadly to chickens and turkeys.

The facility alerted the veterinarian’s office at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture after seeing an increase in chicken deaths.

The breeder supplies Tyson Foods Inc. The company said that it doesn’t expect its chicken business to be disrupted, but shares of the Springdale, Arkansas, food producer slid 3 percent in early trading Monday.

Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture didn’t name the breeder, only saying it is located in the state’s Lincoln County, just west of Chattanooga.

The risk of human transmission from avian influenza is very low, however the Tennessee Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture are working together to assess the health of individuals working on the site or if they had contact with the affected birds.