Mild strain of bird flu contained on Arkansas poultry farm

Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:02pm EDT

By Theopolis Waters
    June 20(Reuters) - A low-pathogenic strain of avian
influenza was found on an Arkansas poultry farm, but was quickly
contained and did not appear to be a threat to other poultry
farms in the nation's second largest chicken state, a state
poultry official said.
    "We're pretty certain this was isolated to just this one
farm. USDA is there with us on hand as we work the next few
weeks to make sure it's contained," said Arkansas Livestock and
Poultry Commission director Preston Scroggin.  
     The influenza is a milder strain of the flu that      
killed dozens of people in China and crippled its poultry
industry.
     Testing found about eight birds in the Arkansas flock of
9,000 were positive for the H7N7 low-pathogen avian flu,
Scroggin said. The flock was humanly euthanized and buried and
the eggs they produced were destroyed.
     The farm and all farms within a 6.2-mile radius of it were
quarantined. No additional cases were found on nearby farms. 
     The Arkansas farm supplied birds to Tyson Foods Inc
, Scroggin said. Poultry farms 30 to 40 miles away from
the site sent in birds for testing and they have come back
negative, he said.
     Scroggin said the farm is in Scott County in western
Arkansas and raises hens that produce eggs for chickens. Tyson
Foods, which supplied the birds and feed to the farmer who owns
the facility, learned of the problem through routine testing
last week.
    Tyson immediately notified the poultry commission, which
conducted follow-up tests and sent test samples to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's lab in Ames, Iowa for confirmation.
    "We're working cooperatively with the USDA and the Arkansas
Agriculture Department regarding a flock of breeder chickens
that contracted a low pathogenic, or mild strain of avian
influenza," said Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson.
    Tyson has since heightened its bio-security measures and
surveillance of avian influenza, said Mickelson. It also plan to
test all area breeder farms that serve the company, as well as
any contract broiler farms within a six mile radius of the
affected farm, he said.
    Neither the meat or the eggs would have entered the human
consumption chain. Also, the virus does not pose a threat to
humans, state and industry officials said.
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