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Bird Flu Hits Tennessee Chicken Farm That Supplies Tyson Foods

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Bird flu was detected in a Tennessee chicken farm contracted with Tyson Foods and 73,500 chickens will be culled as a result, federal officials said Sunday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the discovery was the first case this year of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) in U.S. commercial poultry. Farmers reported to authorities on Friday that an unusually large number of chickens had died, and tests over the weekend confirmed HPAI as the cause. The USDA said it was working with state and company officials to ensure “birds from the flock will not enter the food system.”

“We’re responding aggressively, and are working with state and federal officials to contain the virus by euthanizing chickens located on the farm,” Tyson Foods said in a statement to CNN. “All flocks located within a 6-mile radius of the farm will be tested and will not be transported unless they test negative for the virus.”

USDA said in a statement that humans should avoid contact with sick or dead poultry. Risk of human infection remains low, Tennessee state health officials told CNN.

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com