UACES Facebook Highly pathogenic AI found in Madison County
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Highly pathogenic avian influenza found in Madison County

Nov. 2, 2023

By Mary Hightower
U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:

(408 words)

(Newsrooms: with map of U.S. confirmed locations,  art for biosecurity webinars, file art of chickens)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.  — Arkansas’s first 2023 case of highly pathogenic avian flu has been reported in a commercial broiler-breeder flock in Madison County, federal officials said on Tuesday.

Map of reported AI
AFFECTED STATES — States with confirmed cases of avian influenza, according to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. (Image courtesy USDA APHIS.)

This is Arkansas’ second confirmed finding of the H5N1 avian influenza. The previous finding, in October 2022, was also in Madison County, affecting a commercial broiler flock.

APHIS, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said the Arkansas case was one of several on Oct.31, which included backyard flocks in Tennessee and Oklahoma, as well as commercial turkey flocks in Minnesota and South Dakota.

“Discovery of this highly pathogenic avian influenza in our state should be a cue for Arkansas poultry flock owners to work quickly to protect their birds,” said Dustan Clark, extension poultry veterinarian for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “There are some simple and inexpensive ways to keep birds from coming into contact with potential wild bird carriers of the disease. Flock owners need to enact those methods now.”

Poultry flock owners wishing to review methods to keep their birds safe can visit the Cooperative Extension Service biosecurity resources. Clark is offering four biosecurity webinars for small flock owners at 6 p.m. each evening of Nov. 2, 7, 9 and 16. There is no charge to attend. Registration is available online.

The 2022-23 outbreak of the deadly virus has affected 347 commercial flocks, 532 backyard flocks and more than 60 million birds, according to USDA. In the last 30 days, avian influenza has been confirmed in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Utah, according to USDA.

The World Organisation for Animal Health, or WOAH, said that since January 2022, more than 17,000 animal outbreaks of H5N1 viruses have been reported by its 80 member countries.

Last week, Clark warned that the incursion of a cold front would likely bolster the number of southward migrating wildfowl through the Mississippi Flyway — which includes Arkansas —  increasing the likelihood that AI might spread to the state.

According to APHIS, the last infected wild birds in Arkansas were confirmed in May among bald eagles found in Clark, Perry, Poinsett, Randolph and Clark counties.

Poultry flock owners are urged to learn to recognize symptoms of avian influenza in poultry and report unusual signs to your local veterinarian, local county extension agent, extension poultry veterinarian, state veterinarian, USDA hotline at 1-866-536-7593 or Arkansas AI hotline at 501-823-1746.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on X and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on X at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on X at @AgInArk.


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 and services 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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Media contact:
Mary Hightower