An Arkansas poultry farm connected with an H7N7 avian influenza scare found could be repopulated as early as the fall of 2013, Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Director Preston Scroggin said. The farm, operated by a grower for Tyson Foods, has been fully decontaminated and declared free of avian influenza.
In June, about 40 percent of the chickens in one house at the farm showed the presence of antibodies consistent with the low-pathogen form of avian influenza. All chickens on the farm were euthanized and all birds within a 6.2-mile radius were quarantined while avian influenza testing took place. No new cases of avian influenza were found during two rounds of testing, with the second round concluding on July 9.
While the area has been declared free of avian influenza, the Arkansas poultry industry is still hindered by the discovery. Japan, Russia and China have all implemented bans on poultry from Arkansas, and Hong Kong has banned chicken from Scott County, Ark., where the farm is located. However, Scroggin said he thinks those bans are "more political than science based."
State and federal officials from Arkansas have been communicating with the United States Department of Agriculture and other groups to help get those trade issues resolved as quickly as possible, he added.