Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in poultry flock in Tennessee; Vermonters should be on the lookout. Courtesy photo.

Kristin Haas, DVM, State Veterinarian

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of a highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) of North American wild bird lineage in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.

This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry in the United States this year. The flock of 73,500 is located within the Mississippi flyway. APHIS is working closely with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to respond to the disease and has quarantined the affected premises to prevent the spread of the disease. While not known to impact human health, this highly contagious poultry disease can be devastating to chickens and turkeys, as well as the farmers who depend on them for their livelihood.

Fortunately, no cases have been reported in Vermont, and we recommend that all bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, continue to practice good biosecurity and prevent contact between their birds and wild birds.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture recommends reporting sick birds or unusual bird deaths to the Office of the Vermont State Veterinarian at 828-2421 or through USDA’s toll-free number at (866) 536-7593.

For more information contact Kristin Haas at (802) 828-2426 or by email.