June 26, 2013

US chicken farm hit by avian influenza H7N7



According to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, breeder chickens on a farm in Scott County, Arkansas, the United States, have been tested positive for H7N7 low pathogenic avian influenza on June 19.


The presence of H7N7 antibodies was discovered during testing conducted by Tyson Foods. Poultry is one of Arkansas' top exports. Tyson Foods, Butterball and Pilgrim's Pride poultry producers, along with several others, are based in the state.


Krista Cupp, from Tyson Foods' public relations, says the flock was euthanised as a precautionary measure and no infected poultry will enter the human food chain. "As an additional preventative measure, Tyson has heightened its biosecurity measures and surveillance of avian influenza. We plan to test all area breeder farms that serve the company, as well as any contract broiler farms within a six-mile radius of the affected farm."


The H7N7 strand is a milder strand than the recently reported H7N9 in China and seems to be contained to a single farm. The Arkansas Department of Health says the positive test poses no public health threat. Avian flu cannot be transmitted to humans through the consumption of properly prepared poultry.