Bird flu confirmed at Madison County poultry farm

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture confirmed Friday (October 7) a case of avian flu at an Arkansas poultry farm in Madison County.

Also known as H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI), bird flu is an airborne respiratory virus that spreads easily among chickens through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in a variety of ways from flock to flock, including through wild birds, contact with infected poultry, equipment, and on the clothes and shoes of keepers.

According to experts, there is no public health problem and bird flu does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat. The disease is highly pathogenic and can spread rapidly among poultry flocks, resulting in high mortality rates among birds.

“We took immediate action to contain this disease and will continue to work with poultry farmers, industry and our laboratory partners to protect against its spread,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. . “Arkansas poultry is safe to eat, and consumers can be confident in the safety of their food.”

“This finding is the first case of HPAI in Arkansas commercial poultry since 2015,” said LPD Director Patrick Fisk. “The positive test results were confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Service laboratory in Ames, Iowa.”

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture and partner agencies, including the USDA, are working to contain the situation. Actions include sampling and quarantine of nearby poultry flocks.

“The farm is under quarantine to stop the spread of bird flu to other flocks in the state,” said Arkansas State Veterinarian John Nilz. “Birds on the affected farm have been depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease and will not enter the food system.”

All poultry flock owners are encouraged to follow the strictest biosecurity on their farms to prevent the spread of disease. These steps include:

  • Limit, monitor and record any movement of people, vehicles or animals inside or outside your farm;
  • Allow only essential workers and vehicles to enter the farm to limit the risk of bringing the virus from an outside source;
  • Avoid visiting other poultry farms and any unnecessary travel off the farm;
  • Disinfect equipment, vehicles, footwear and other items that come into contact with herds;
  • Keep your flock away from wild or migrating birds, especially waterfowl; and
  • Isolate any sick animal and contact your veterinarian.

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