U.S. Bird Flu Outbreak Spreads To Fourth State

The spread of bird flu has now reached America’s largest chicken-producing state.

Reuters reports a flock of 18,000 breeder birds has been culled after testing positive for the H7N9 strain of avian influenza.

The United States Department of Agriculture suggests the chickens in northwest Georgia were likely infected with a form of the virus which isn’t highly lethal, as the flock didn’t show signs of illness.

More than 200,000 birds have been culled across Tennessee , Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia in the last month.

Officials say the risk of the disease spreading to people or making the food-chain unsafe is low.

Their concern is more economic.

American meat companies are taking a hit as the mature birds they’ve fed for months are being culled, rather than processed.

There’s also the threat of import bans from other counties.

South Korean buyers limited shipments from the U.S. earlier this month, upon hearing the confirmation of bird flu in Tennessee.

America’s worst case of avian influence came just over two years ago, when 50 million birds needed to be terminated.