WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017 – USDA has confirmed a second case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Lincoln Country, Tennessee, in a commercial breeder flock less than two miles from where the disease was detected earlier this month.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the detection in a release Thursday morning. The strain of the disease (H7N9) is the same as what was previously found on a nearby poultry farm 13 days ago.

“Wild birds can carry this strain of avian influenza.” Tennessee State Veterinarian Charles Hatcher said in a release. “Given the close proximity of the two premises, this is not unexpected. We will continue to execute our plan, working quickly to prevent the virus from spreading further.”

The flock of 55,000 chickens will be depopulated, and surveillance and testing for the disease will be conducted within a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) radius of the site.

Two cases of low pathogenic avian influenza have been found in the region since the original Lincoln County detection, but this is the first HPAI confirmation since then.

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Some 73,500 bird were destroyed as a result of the earlier detection on a farm contracted to poultry giant Tyson Foods.

Officials reiterate that this is not the same H7N9 strain detected in China, that the disease does not pose a threat to the food supply, and that no affected animals entered the food chain. Risk of human illness as a result of this strain is considered to be very low.

HPAI caused the death of 48 million birds in 2015 after wild birds spread the disease during their northern migration. A major resurgence of the disease was avoided in 2016 with the only detection coming from one Indiana flock.


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