Talking Avian Influenza, Human Health, and Being Prepared

Tuesday, September 08, 2015 | 03:43pm

NASHVILLE—Three state agencies are coming together to ensure that human health and animal health remain top priorities in Tennessee.

On September 10, leaders of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Department of Health, and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency will hold a joint media event at the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville.

The three departments are working together to prepare for a potential outbreak of high path avian influenza. HPAI has not been detected in Tennessee and poses no risk to human health or the food supply. However, it has become the most costly animal health disaster in U.S. history, and Tennessee takes that threat seriously.

TDA’s State Veterinarian Dr. Charlie Hatcher will discuss the risk of HPAI and possible impact on Tennessee. Animal health staff will be examining birds arriving for the poultry shows.

TDH’s Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. John Dunn will offer insight on the best ways for humans to remain healthy when coming into contact with animals.

TEMA’s Assistant Director for Preparedness Ken Davis will address National Emergency Preparedness Month and provide tips for handling an emergency.

With the backdrop of the Tennessee State Fair, there will be ample opportunities for video and additional interviews.

Who:       TN Department of Agriculture, TN Department of Health, TN Emergency Management Agency
What:      Media event at the Tennessee State Fair
When:     Thursday, September 10 at 10 a.m. central
Where:    The Rabbit Barn at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, Nashville
                  Enter through the Livestock Gate at 509 Benton Ave.

Avian influenza, or bird flu, is a virus that affects bird populations. There are many different strains of bird flu that cause varying degrees of illness in birds. Highly pathogenic strains of bird flu are of great concern because they are easily spread among birds and can be deadly to domesticated poultry.