December 15, 2017

Arkansas Moves Swiftly To Contain Bird Flu Threat

Arkansas agriculture officials moved swiftly to contain the threat of a low pathogenic strain of avian flu detected in a poultry flock in Boles 10 days ago,  Preston Scroggin, Director of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, told Food Posioning Bulletin in an interview today. “We swung into action and put a 6.2 mile quarantine around the area,” he said. “We feel really good. We think we got it contained and under control.”

Chickens in HenhouseThe flock was humanely euthanized and buried. None of the birds or eggs the food chain.

An avian flu epidemic could have devastating effects in Arkansas, were poultry accounts for about 47 percent of the state’s agricultural income. Flocks on all of the farms within the quarantine area as well as 38 backyard flocks were tested and none of them was positive for the strain H7N7, Scroggin said. None of the birds can be moved from the quarantined zone without permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

More tests will be conducted in another 10 days and if those are clear the quarantine will be lifted, Scroggin said. Until that time, two countries- Japan and Russia, and two states- Georgia and Mississippi have halted imports of Arkansas poultry. Reports that China had also halted imports were erroneous, but trade deals are fluid, he said. “That could change in 10 minutes.”

Avian flu is common in water fowl and a recent flood of historic proportions may have have played a role in transmitting the disease, Scroggin said. Heavy rains flooded the area with 13 inches of water in six hours.

 

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