The infection of a flock of chickens in Arkansas with H7N7 avian influenza was quickly contained, according to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.

The small outbreak came to light when a grower from Boles, Ark., who raises chickens for Tyson Foods, had some birds showing symptoms of the disease. Tyson, the integrator, ran some tests and on June 18 informed the commission of the findings, said Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Director Preston Scroggin. The commission subsequently sent staff members to the site, where they walked through the building and took samples from birds at the farm. About 40 percent of the chickens analyzed tested positive for the low-pathogenic H7N7 virus.

The flock of about 9,000 birds was euthanized. Those birds were all in the same barn, and no others on the farm were infected, said Scroggin.

Scientists and veterinarians from the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission have been on the scene ever since to monitor the situation. The barn has been locked and the process of disinfecting the building has begun.


The chickens at the infected farm were believed to have caught the disease from wild fowl that had been in the area during a recent flood. When the initial discovery was reported, birds from within a 6.2-mile radius were quarantined. None of the commercial chickens from the surrounding area have tested positive.

"We have not found anything at this time positive from anywhere else," said Scroggin. "We'll be there for about a month to keep on top of the situation."

While all of the commercial flocks in the region have been tested for avian influenza, the Arkansas commission is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find any personal or backyard flocks that might be in the area and be at risk. The farm is in a remote area that is sparsely populated.