A flock of turkeys in Seward County, Nebraska, tested positive for avian influenza (AI) antibodies in routine blood testing at time of slaughter earlier this summer, according to a Nebraska Department of Agriculture spokesperson. The flock had antibodies to a low-pathogenic H7N9 strain of AI. The flock was processed in late June and early July.

Since the blood from the affected turkeys was collected at time of slaughter, the meat did enter commerce. A younger flock of turkeys on the farm has tested negative for AI and will be monitored until marketed. AI virus does not survive the cooking process.

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AI antibodies have been found in three USA turkey flocks so far this year. The other two flocks were in West Virginia and Virginia. Each incident this year has involved low pathogenic strains of AI, and none of the flocks exhibited disease symptoms. Antibodies to AI were discovered during routine pre-slaughter blood testing in the West Virginia and Virginia flocks and these flocks were euthanized and composted on the farms.