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Arkansas state veterinarian John Nilz says the first case of high-path avian influenza this fall hit a poultry-dense part of the state.  “We are having regular meetings with our entire commercial industry,” he says.  “Our extension services are reaching out to the backyard flock folks to give everybody a heads up that it’s here and to tighten up on your biosecurity. Be mindful where you’re going, and don’t let outside people on your farms.”

He tells Brownfield avian influenza is highly contagious for poultry and waterfowl, and can be passed through fecal matter or through the air.  “It could be aerosolized if there’s a positive bird, too,” he says.  “And that could be just a wild bird that’s outside, it could be transmitted through the air, especially if they’re coughing.”

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has determined the affected area, which is approximately 25 miles surrounding a flock with a confirmed case of HPAI. Until further notice, it is prohibited to move birds within the affected area. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reports nearly 32,000 birds have been depopulated.

Nilz reminds the public there is no human health concern, and the virus does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat. 

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