Market News & Headlines >> Bird Flu at Tennessee Poultry Farm

USDA on Sunday reported a confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI) at a commercial chicken breeding farm in Tennessee, the first such case in a commercial poultry flock this year. 

In a news release, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said it was working closely with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on a joint response to the outbreak. State officials quarantined the affected farm and the breeder flock of 73,500 birds, which is contracted to Tyson Foods Inc., will be culled to stop the spread of the strain of H7 bird flu virus, officials said. Tyson said in a statement it was working state and federal officials to euthanize the birds. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system. In addition, 30 other farms within a six-mile radius of the infected farm have been quarantined. 

APHIS said the virus was of North American wild bird lineage. HPAI virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick. It is the first time HPAI has been found in Tennessee, the state government said. Virus isolation is ongoing, and the National Veterinary Sciences Laboratory expects to characterize the neuraminidase protein, or “N-type”, of the virus within 48 hours. 

Tyson Foods Inc. stock on Monday was down by as much as $2.59 per share or 4.1% at one point on news of the outbreak and finished $1.61 per share or 2.5% lower on the day.