UGA Extension – Jasper County Agricultural & Natural Resources

Georgia's Deer Capital

Bird Flu confirmed in Tennessee

The first case of the year of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was confirmed over the weekend in Lincoln County, Tennessee. All birds on the premises were euthanized, and all neighboring flocks have tested negative.

Video interview of Dr. Charles Hatcher, DVM, State Veterinarian, Tennessee Department of Agriculture. (Video has 2 parts.)

Georgia Department of Agriculture statement & resources: GDA HPAI Press Release 03-06-17


As a poultry owner, what you need to know about the newest outbreak of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI):

  • On March 3, a commercial chicken facility in Lincoln County alerted the state veterinarian’s office at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to an increase in chicken deaths.
  • After testing samples from the affected flock USDA confirmed presence of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
  • There have been no reports of Avian Influenza in Georgia.
  • Georgia has never had a case of HPAI.
  • The Georgia Department of Agriculture continues to be vigilant in surveillance efforts and working with growers in their practice of bio-security measures.
  • HPAI is known to be deadly for domesticated chickens and turkeys.
  • HPAI does not pose a risk to the food supply.
  • The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low.
  • The infected flock of 73,500 is located within the Mississippi flyway.   Georgia is located within the Atlantic flyway.
  • The source of the Lincoln County virus has not yet been determined.
  • This version of H7 HPAI is confirmed as a North American wild bird lineage.
  • State officials quarantined the affected premises and birds on the property have been depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Approximately 30 other poultry farms within a 10 mile radius of the site have been tested.
  • No other flocks have tested positive or experienced clinical signs of HPAI .
  • Birds from the affected flock will not enter the food system.
  • This is not the same strain identified in the 2015 outbreak in the Midwest.
  • The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.
  • Since the virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick, people should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
  • USDA has informed the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as international trading partners of this finding. USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to encourage adherence to OIE standards and minimize trade impacts. OIE trade guidelines call on countries to base trade restrictions on sound science and, whenever possible, limit restrictions to those animals and animal products within a defined region that pose a risk of spreading disease of concern.
  • All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials.
  • This is the first time highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in Tennessee, however low path avian influenza has affected Tennessee poultry flocks in the past.
  • Owners of commercial and backyard poultry flocks are encouraged to closely observe their birds.
  • Report a sudden increase in the number of sick birds or bird deaths to the state veterinarian’s office at (855) 491-1432.
  • Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus which can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl) and is carried by free flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. AI viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: hemagglutinin or “H” proteins, of which there are 16 (H1–H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, of which there are 9 (N1–N9). Many different combinations of “H” and “N” proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype, and can be further broken down into different strains. AI viruses are further classified by their pathogenicity (low or high)— the ability of a particular virus strain to produce disease in domestic chickens.