(WKRN) — Several weeks after highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was detected in a backyard flock in northwest Tennessee, the state veterinarian decided to lift the poultry restrictions that were implemented statewide.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture said HPAI — a disease that is known to be deadly for domesticated fowl — was confirmed in a backyard flock of poultry in Obion County on Sept. 15.
Even though the affected site is still under quarantine as of Wednesday, Oct. 5, officials reported that movement permits are no longer required for poultry moving into or out of the 6.2 miles surrounding the site, which serves as the “control zone.”
In addition, poultry shows, exhibitions, and sales are now allowed to resume statewide, according to Wednesday’s news release. However, poultry owners are urged to maintain strong biosecurity procedures, stay vigilant, and report any signs of illness in your birds.
“The coordinated response to stop the spread of HPAI in this area worked, but we can’t let our guard down,” Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty said. “We are grateful to our animal health technicians, the poultry industry, backyard flock owners, and our partners for working together to protect our state’s birds. Still, HPAI is highly transmissible and we strongly encourage poultry owners to continue doing all they can to ensure good health in their flocks.”
Officials said HPAI does not pose a food safety risk — adding that poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly — but infected poultry are never allowed to enter the food supply.
“The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low,” the Tennessee Department of Agriculture stated. “In fact, no transmission to humans was reported during the outbreak that affected commercial poultry farms in Tennessee in 2017.”
The owners of backyard and commercial poultry flocks are encouraged to do the following:
- Observe domesticated birds closely.
- Report any sudden increase in the number of sick or dead birds to the Tennessee State Veterinarian’s office at 615- 837-5120 and/or the USDA at 1-866-536-7593.
- Prevent contact with wild birds.
- Practice good biosecurity with your poultry.
- Enroll in the National Poultry Improvement Plan, the Secure Broiler Supply Plan, and the Secure Egg Supply Plan as needed for your operation.
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You can find more information about Tennessee’s response to avian influenza and resources by following this link.