At least 73,500 chickens were destroyed over the weekend at the facility in Lincoln County, Tenn., and 30 other farms within a six-mile radius have been quarantined, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The Tennessee breeder supplies Tyson Foods (TSN), whose shares dropped sharply in the wake of the news.
“We’re responding aggressively, and are working with state and federal officials to contain the virus,” Tyson said in a press release.
The company said it tests all of its flocks for bird flu before they leave the farm “out of an abundance of caution.” Results are known before the birds are processed, the company said, and chickens are not used if avian influenza is found.
USDA has not yet identified the strain of the H7 virus found at the farm, but said it is in the process of testing chickens at area farms to determine whether the disease had spread.
“All flocks located within a six-mile radius of the farm will be tested and will not be transported unless they test negative for the virus,” Tyson said. “Based on the limited scope known to us at this time, we don’t expect disruptions to our chicken business.”
There have been bird flu outbreaks in China and in Europe in recent months, though they are of differing strains.
Shares of Tyson Foods Inc. fell $1.61, or 2.5%, to close at $61.99 Monday.
Source: The New York Times