CDC: Outbreak of Bird Flu in Poultry Poses Low Risk to People

Washington, D.C.–Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working closely with USDA APHIS and the Tennessee Department of Health to minimize any human health risk posed by the avian influenza outbreak in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  At this time, no human infections associated with this outbreak in Tennessee have been detected.

H7N9 was detected in a chicken farm in Tennessee (credit: ABC)
H7N9 was detected yesterday in a chicken farm in Tennessee (credit: ABC)

CDC considers the risk to the public’s health from this North American H7N9 virus outbreak in commercial poultry to be low. In the past, there have only been a small number (fewer than 10 in 15 years) of reported human infections with North American avian influenza A H7 viruses. Most were associated with poultry exposure and have resulted in mild respiratory illness and/or conjunctivitis.

While the risk of human infection is low, CDC is working closely with USDA APHIS and state and local agriculture and public health partners to communicate about the possible impact on people of this animal outbreak, including steps people can take to reduce possible risk. CDC has longstanding guidance for the public related to previous domestic HPAI outbreaks:

  • avoid wild birds and observe them only from a distance;
  • avoid contact with domestic birds (poultry) that appear ill or have died;
  • avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture confirmed yesterday that approximately 74,000 chickens from a commercial farm in Lincoln County were culled after some of the animals tested positive for H7N9.

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