The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Boone County, Ark. The flock of 40,020 turkeys is located within the Mississippi flyway where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified in one turkey flock in Minnesota and two turkey flocks in Missouri.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.
Samples from the Arkansas turkey flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Arkansas Livestock & Poultry Commission Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the findings. APHIS is working closely with the Arkansas Livestock & Poultry Commission on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and surviving birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.
No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time. The Arkansas Livestock & Poultry Commission is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165°F kills bacteria and viruses.
Detailed analysis of the virus is underway in cooperation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. None of these viruses have been identified in humans, nor are expected to pose a public health risk. For more information about the ongoing avian influenza disease incident, visit the APHIS website at www.aphis.usda.gov.