The Bird Flu Outbreak in the South is Not Dangerous for Humans But Can Be Dangerous for Chickens

A recent ‘bird flu’ outbreak at a grower in the state of Tennessee is being contained. Master of public health officials stated on Monday that the outbreak is not dangerous to people.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreak

Although the infection is an aggressive form of pathogenic bird influenza virus, there has been a greater concern of late that a similar outbreak has occurred in commercial plants similar to the one that was discovered in Lincoln County, Tennessee. State officials have recommended that backyard growers need to be alert and implement good biosecurity measures to protect their chickens and reduce their risk of exposure to the infection.

For several years now, online MPH degree graduates have served on the board of Tennessee’s Agricultural Extension Service. The division of the service that works with the bird flu has developed a plan for an influenza outbreak among birds, as well as provided education for commercial poultry processors and backyard chicken growers.

Most of the chickens in backyards catch the influenza virus from birds in the wild. This strain of the virus is found in the wild birds native to Tennessee. Even though people cannot contract the virus, they can transport the virus on the bottom of their shoes if they are near infected bird droppings, from waterfowl or another grower’s backyard chickens.


MPH degree professionals recommend that commercial plants and backyard growers take preventative measures to protect their flocks. The most important thing that backyard growers can do is prevent wild birds from accessing their property. Be sure to clean up spilled feed immediately, and make sure that all waterers and feeders are out of the reach of stray birds.

The veterinarian for the Tennessee stated on Monday that investigators are still trying to determine how the birds that got the virus came into contact with it. The farm contracts with many poultry processors, including Tyson Foods. Since only one of the several chickens was infected, it is likely that an infected wild bird entered into the airway of the house and caused the widespread infection.

No Threat to Food Supply

This is the state’s first outbreak of this version of avian influenza. The state did have several cases of the bird flu during 2008 and 2009. However, this is the first case of bird flu in the United States for 2017.

State officials have been aware for some time that there was a possibility this strain of avian influenza could occur in the state. They have also stressed that none of the affected chickens were processed in the poultry plant, and when poultry is cooked at the correct temperature it cannot harm people.

The infection was limited to only one chicken house that housed 8,000 to 10,000 chickens. These chickens laid eggs that were to be taken to a hatchery. In accordance with procedure, all of the chickens in the eight houses were destroyed within a day. There were over 70,000 chickens total in the eight houses.

Growers are considered to be the first line of defense in these situations. It is up to each grower to review his or her biosecurity plans and ensure proper procedures are in place to reduce another bird flu outbreak.