September 19, 2023

Bird flu detected at Madison County farm, state Department of Agriculture says

An outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed at a commercial poultry farm in Madison County, according to a press release from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Friday afternoon.

State officials said the farm is now under quarantine and the birds on the farm have been destroyed, according to the statement.

“Birds on the affected farm have been depopulated to prevent the spread of disease and will not enter the food system,” Arkansas State Veterinarian Dr. John Nilz said in the statement.

This is the first case of bird flu detected in commercial poultry in Arkansas since 2015. The type of bird flu detected at the commercial farm was the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, according to the release.

State and partner agencies, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are working to contain the flu, including testing nearby poultry flocks, the statement said.

Type H5 is considered more severe than other strains of bird flu. The virus, which can cause high mortality in poultry flocks, is the same strain that has been confirmed in other states and wild birds in the Atlantic Flyway, according to the Department of state agriculture.

Officials stressed that the virus does not pose a public health concern. The virus does not affect poultry meat or egg products, all of which remain safe for consumption, the statement said.