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A flock of Tyson Foods Chickens Test Positive for Bird Flu

Tyson Foods said it’s ramping up biosecurity measures at its farms after a flock of chicken in Kentucky tested positive for the bird flu. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the presence of bird flu in Kentucky and Virginia, reigniting fears of another widespread bird flu outbreak.

Bird flu can cause high mortality rates among birds. In 2015, 50 million birds across 15 states were killed due to an outbreak, costing the federal government nearly $1 billion. The USDA said it detected the presence of the virus in an undisclosed number of birds from a flock of commercial broiler chickens in Fulton County. The agency said that the birds on the properties will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease” and that “depopulation is complete in Virginia.”

Tyson Foods would not disclose the size of the flock in Kentucky. The USDA is awaiting results of a potential second case about 124 miles northeast in Webster County, Kentucky. Meanwhile, a backyard flock of mixed-species birds in northern Virginia also tested positive for the virus. The agency said the “birds from the flocks will not enter the food system.”  These avian influenza detections do not “present an immediate public health concern,” the USDA added, citing data from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The agency is also reminding consumers that properly prepared and cooked poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees kills bacteria and viruses. Tyson Foods said its chicken products remain safe for consumers, and it is working with state and federal officials to prevent the spread of the virus.

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