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Avian Influenza / Poultry Health & Disease / Poultry Welfare
on March 11, 2015

Avian influenza confirmed in Arkansas turkey flock

Commercial flock of 40,020 turkeys in Boone County, Arkansas is infected with H5N2 avian influenza

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Boone County, Arkansas. The flock of 40,020 turkeys is located within the Mississippi flyway where the H5N2 strain of avian influenza has previously been identified. Previous reports of H5N2 were confirmed in Missouri and Minnesota.

Samples from the turkey flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the findings. APHIS is working closely with the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time. The Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 F kills bacteria and viruses.

As part of existing avian influenza response plans, federal and state partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area. USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.

USDA will be informing the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as international trading partners of this finding. USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to encourage adherence to OIE standards and minimize trade impacts. OIE trade guidelines call on countries to base trade restrictions on sound science and, whenever possible, limit restrictions to those animals and animal products within a defined region that pose a risk of spreading disease of concern.

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