Arkansas poultry officials say that a strain of avian flu has been detected in a commercial flock and that steps were being taken to destroy the sick birds. Arkansas is the third state in the Mississippi flyway to test positive for avian flu, after it was detected in flocks in Minnesota and Missouri within the last week.
According to the Associated Press, the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission was following federal protocols to ensure the affected birds did not enter the food supply. Tests will also be conducted to make sure the disease hasn't spread. The agency said it was notified of a potential infection on Sunday and that test results by the National Veterinary Services Lab confirmed the presence of the H5N2 flu.
Reuters reports that the suspected case in Arkansas was found in a turkey flock, said Mike Cockrell, chief financial officer for Sanderson Farms Inc. He cited information from the Texas Poultry Federation. To prevent bird flu from spreading to its facilities, Sanderson is starting to bar outsiders from entering barns and to require increased cleaning of trucks hauling feed and chickens between farms, Cockrell said.
Avian flu was initially detected in backyard flocks in the Pacific Northwest before spreading to commercial flocks in California. Since entering the Mississippi flyway, the virus has been detected in Minnesota, the country’s largest turkey producing state, and Missouri, where three flocks belonging to Butterball have been affected.