Measures being taken to contain avian flu outbreak

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 10:41 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Last week, a Madison County farm discovered an avian flu outbreak causing poultry producers to take measures to prevent the disease from spreading to other flocks.

Leaders hope to prevent supply chain strains related to the avian flu or “bird flu.”

“We’re just making sure we’re following very strict biosecurity measures and doing everything we can to keep from introducing that disease into other poultry flocks across the state,” said Wes Ward, Arkansas’ Secretary of Agriculture.

Content partner KARK said bird flu could spread quickly through chicken populations. Arkansas has the lone noted outbreak, but states across the country have reported their cases.

“It’s a disease that’s highly pathogenic,” Ward said. “It spreads very easily. The quickest and best and most humane way to control the disease is to depopulate that flock that has it.”

Jeff Cooperstein, a University of Arkansas economist, said poultry is a significant part of Arkansas’s economy, and outbreaks can impact the supply chain. Still, if measures are followed, the state can avoid an outbreak.

“If you count just chickens by themselves, [it’s] about $3.7 billion. If you add in egg production, you’re talking another $700 million,” Cooperstein said. “This one incident in Arkansas isn’t going to have a large market-disrupting sort of impact. It is part of a larger scenario.”