LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A case of serious disease affecting poultry production has been identified on an Arkansas farm.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture announced Friday afternoon that an avian flu outbreak has been identified at a Madison County farm. The outbreak was discovered by the department’s Livestock and Poultry Division, working with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Avian flu is an airborne virus that spreads quickly among chickens. The Arkansas department stated that it does not affect poultry meat or egg products.

“We have taken immediate action to contain this disease and will continue to work with poultry growers, the industry, and our laboratory partners to protect against its spread,” Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward said.“Arkansas poultry is safe to eat, and consumers can be confident in the safety of their food.”

“The farm is under quarantine to stop the spread of avian influenza to other flocks in the state,” Arkansas State Veterinarian John Nilz said. “The birds on the affected farm were depopulated to prevent the spread of disease and will not enter the food system.”

Arkansas has not had an avian flu outbreak since 2015. The 2015 outbreak killed 50.5 million birds and was the most significant in United States history.

“This finding is the first case of HPAI in commercial poultry in Arkansas since 2015,” Arkansas Department of Agriculture Livestock and Poultry Division Director Patrick Fisk said. “Positive test results were confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Service Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.”

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture encourages all flock owners to follow strict biosecurity protocols.

According to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Arkansas is one of the nation’s top three broiler-producing states.