SCOTT COUNTY, Ark. – China, Russia and Japan recently banned imports of poultry raised in Arkansas after breeder chickens tested positive for the H7N7 virus at a farm in Scott County, Ark. The farmer, a poultry supplier for Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods Inc., euthanized the entire flock to stop the spread of the virus.
Poultry processors with operations in Arkansas are adjusting to the ban, which is a statewide issue. Arkansas is the second-leading producer of broiler chickens behind Georgia, according to US Department of Agriculture statistics. Worth Sparkman, a Tyson spokesman, said, "We expect to continue to meet the needs of our customers in those countries with products from plants in other states."
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.
A recent outbreak of H7N9 human infections in China has heightened awareness of avian influenza in that country. Public health personnel culled thousands of birds and closed live poultry markets in affected locations to stop the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 30 people.