China has banned all Arkansas poultry products after chickens showed the presence of a low-pathogen form of H7N7 avian influenza during the week of June 17. The poultry ban comes a month after a chicken flock in Boles, Ark., tested positive with mild bird flu symptoms.
Similar bans on Arkansas poultry were placed by Japan and Russia in late June. Hong Kong also banned poultry from Scott County, Ark., where the chickens tested for avian influenza were located.
"All birds in the affected flock were euthanized, and all poultry within a 6.2-mile radius tested negative for avian influenza," says Preston Scroggin, director of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission. "Crews from the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have since ended the quarantine, but they are still doing random testing in the area and working with the farm where the initial discovery was made."
Toby Moore, vice president of communications for the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, said the ban was surprising. To date, all that have been found are antibodies consistent with H7N7 avian influenza in Arkansas, and no virus has been isolated, Moore said. China's ban is counter to World Organisation for Animal Health guidelines, and has no scientific basis.
"Everything on our end is very good. We're not seeing any signs of problems after testing and retesting," said Scroggin.