A turkey flock in Shenandoah County, Va., was found to have antibodies for avian influenza in a routine pre-slaughter test on July 6, 2007. The results of the test were confirmed later by the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.
Chief Veterinarian John Clifford said tests at the NVSL showed that the birds had been exposed to the North American strain of H5N1 virus “and is compatible with low pathogenic avian influenza.” This low-pathogenic strain of avian flu is not a human health concern. All 54,000 turkeys on the farm were humanely euthanized and are being composted on site.
No other poultry in the area had tested positive for avian influenza at time of press. Shenandoah County is located in the Shenandoah Valley, which experienced an outbreak of low-pathogenic avian influenza in 2002 and an outbreak of high-pathogenic avian influenza in the mid 1980’s.
West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass decided to ban live poultry at the West Virginia state fair, because of the Fairlea event's proximity to Shenandoah County, Va., 10 miles from the West Virginia border, said Buddy Davidson, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture.