Arkansas Officials Preparing for Possible Bird Flu Outbreak

SEPTEMBER 28, 2005 - Posted at 8:12 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Avian influenza has not been reported in the United States, but Arkansas poultry officials are working to prepare in case the disease spreads.

The bird flu has been a problem for several years in southeast Asia, and the virus has jumped to humans, causing concerns the virus could bring a pandemic.

Poultry industry representatives from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri met Monday with Arkansas health officials.

Arkansas Health Division spokesman Bob Alvey says the poultry industry has a plan in place for how to respond if the virus infects a flock.  The Health Division is more concerned about the disease possibly infecting humans.

Alvey says a vaccine is being developed, and the drug Tamiflu has showed promise as possible treatment.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)