15,000 Chickens Test Positive for Bird Flu Exposure

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Officials say Tyson Foods has begun killing and burying the carcases of 15,000 hens who tested positive for exposure to a strain of the avian flu in northwest Arkansas.

Jon Fitch, director of the state's Livestock and Poultry Commission, says routine blood tests conducted Friday found the possible exposure.  Fitch says further tests show the birds did not have active infections, but rather were exposed to a subtype of the disease.

Fitch says there is "absolutely no human health threat" from the birds.  He says the birds tested positive for the H7N3 strain of the bird flu, not the H5N1 bird flu virus that began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in late 2003.

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