SCOTT COUNTY, Ark. – Breeder chickens on a farm in Scott County, Ark., tested positive for H7N7 avian influenza, prompting the farmer, a poultry supplier for Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods, Inc., to euthanize the entire flock to stop the spread of the virus, according to local news reports.
The virus was first confirmed June 18 in a chicken during testing by Tyson personnel. Livestock and Poultry Commission personnel quarantined all poultry within a 6.2 mile radius of the farm. The US Department of Agriculture planned to conduct additional testing. Officials with the Livestock and Poultry Commission believe recent flooding in Scott County may have contributed to transmission of the virus.
Chickens can contract bird flu from infected waterfowl or from water contaminated by infected waterfowl. The Arkansas Department of Health emphasized that the positive test posed no threat to public health, and that the virus cannot be transmitted through consumption of properly cooked poultry.
A recent outbreak of H7N9 human infections in China has heightened awareness of avian influenza. The H7N9 virus sickened more than 100 people and killed more than 30. Public health personnel in China culled thousands of birds and closed live poultry markets in affected locations.