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BIRD FLU IS BACK: USDA Burns 73,500 Chickens With Avian Flu

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The Department of Agriculture is in the process of destroying 73,500 birds at one Tennessee farm after investigators found some of the birds had the deadly avian influenza virus.

Investigators tested birds after the farm reported “increased mortality” in its flock, and discovered the avian flu pathogen, the USDA said in a statement Sunday. Government researchers are still testing the samples to determine the exact sub-type of the virus.

This is the first confirmed case of birds with avian flu in more than a year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“With this [avian flu] detection, we are moving quickly and aggressively to prevent the virus from spreading,” Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher told the WSJ.

Around 30 other poultry farms in nearby Lincoln County, Tenn., have been quarantined, pending testing.

Some 50 million chickens, turkeys and ducks had to be killed during the worst outbreak of avian flu in 2015, but Tennessee state agriculture officials said the current case represents a different strain. The USDA confirmed one case of avian influenza last January in Indiana, but that outbreak didn’t spread to other flocks, and it was a strain that did not appear contagious to humans.

USDA officials work fast to eliminate a flock of poultry that has been exposed to avian flu, usually destroying the carcasses of infected birds within 24 hours of the first detection.

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