Avian flu antibodies have been discovered in a flock of 54,000 turkeys on a poultry farm in Virginia. The flock will be destroyed and bans imposed.
As a result of this discovery, Virginia has banned all live poultry sales and shows. State veterinarian Richard Wilkes issued an order cancelling all sales and exhibitions, as well as a ban in 17 counties on the transfer and application of poultry litter. The ban remains in effect until July 30.
Elaine Lidholm, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, says that the strain poses no threat to human, but rather to the industry.
The antibodies discovered in the turkey flock match those in a mild strain of avian influenza , but a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory is conducting tests to determine whether the antibodies are for low pathogenic or the more severe high pathogenic bird flu.
Lidholm said it appears to be a low pathogenic avian influenza strain, which is not as contagious as the high pathogenic strains that can spread quickly and are more likely to kill poultry.
According to Lidholm, the turkeys carrying the antibodies showed no signs of illness. The antibodies were discovered during routine testing prior to slaughter last week.
Due to the risk of the low pathogenic strain possibly converting to the highly pathogenic strain, the flock will be destroyed.