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The Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture is warning people to be aware of bird flu.

Animal health officials in Tennessee yesterday announced that a second H7N9 avian flu outbreak has been detected at a farm in Giles County in the southern part of the state, but tests show the virus is low pathogenic, not the highly pathogenic strain found recently in neighboring Lincoln County.

While the company affected wasn't identified, officials said it is not Tyson Foods, which was affected earlier this week and had to euthanize 73,500 chickens in Lincoln County.

Sick birds or unusual bird deaths can be reported to the state veterinarian at 828-2421 or to USDA at 1-866-536-7593.

Two different strains of the virus, with different levels of lethality, are involved in the latest outbreaks. High path strains are often fatal for birds, but the low path strain found in Wisconsin is not uncommon in poultry flocks and tends to cause few, if any, clinical signs of illness in the birds. Working with USDA and state health, emergency, agriculture and wildlife departments, LPH has developed plans for the prevention, detection and, if necessary, response to the disease. Hatcher said the virus poses little to no risk to humans.

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The heat and dry weather in summer end to stop the spread of virus, like how it is when cold weather covers the area in winter. A protocol has been put in place to evaluate the health of poultry workers exposed to the outbreak in commercial poultry.

The spread of highly pathogenic flu would represent a financial blow for poultry operators because it would kill more birds or require flocks to be culled.

The chickens in Giles County have now been killed and buried as well. "We urge our backyard growers to practice extreme caution during this period of heightened alert and consider moving poultry with outside access into biosecure housing immediately".

Do not share equipment or supplies with neighbors or other bird owners. State officials say the primary difference between LPAI and HPAI is mortality rate in domesticated poultry.

Since wild waterfowl are considered the main reservoirs of bird flu, farmers and scientists get nervous when birds are migrating.


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