Delaware poultry growers warned after Tennessee avian influenza

(File/WHYY)

(File/WHYY)

Delmarva Poultry Industry urges extra vigilance after high contagious avian influenza was found in Tennessee earlier this month.

A flock of 73,500 birds in Lincoln Couunty, Tenn. is the first U.S. case of avian influenza in a comercial poultry flock this year. Tennessee officials quarantined the farm where the disiase was found and the birds would be killed to prevent the spread of the disease. The birds from the flock were kept out of the food system, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Despite the distance from Delaware’s chicken farms, the Delmarva Poultry Industry group was quick to warn its members. “This Tennessee discovery means all segments of Delmarva’s chicken industry need to increase effort to prevent the introduction of an avian influenza virus into chicken houses,” said a DPI statement sent to farmers.

Steps the group is recommending include limiting farm visitors, avoiding contact with between wild and domestic birds, and have a clean footbath at the entrance to each chicken house. 

Avian influenza among chickens is an easily spread respiratory disease that threatens the chicken industry. That industry makes up a big part of the state’s agricultural economy. Delaware is home to roughly 200 million chickens, while a total of 560 million chickens are raised every year on the broader Delmarva Peninsula.

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