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Avian flu creeps closer to Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE — A deadly strain of avian flu is creeping closer to Arkansas, having claimed a commercial broiler flock in southeastern Missouri.

The H5N1 strain is highly pathogenic and highly contagious. The Missouri flock was in Stoddard County, just above the Bootheel. 

Backyard flock owners are encouraged to review biosecurity in the face of encroaching avian influenza. 

“The detection of the virus in multiple states, and especially close in Missouri, is highly suggestive that it is either currently in birds now migrating over Arkansas or will be shortly,” said Dustan Clark, extension veterinarian for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “I cannot stress enough the importance of not only reviewing, but also implementing appropriate biosecurity measures.”

The disease has been found in Maryland, Maine, New York, Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Delaware, Michigan, Connecticut and Iowa. In those 10 states, it has affected eight backyard flocks, seven turkey flocks, a captive wild bird group and two flocks of layers.

Maryland was the latest confirmed infection, announced Saturday by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Clark emphasized that the disease poses no threat to humans and that both chicken and turkey are safe to eat.

The Cooperative Extension Service has biosecurity resources on its website. Visit https://bit.ly/UAEX-Avian-Influenza. USDA also has information: www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/defend-the-flock-program/dtf-resources/dtf-resources.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uark.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension.

About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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