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North Carolina reports low-pathogenic avian flu

Low-pathogenic H7N3 avian flu detected at commercial turkey breeder and two turkey meat flocks.

As part of routine surveillance for H5/H7 avian influenza, H7 low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) was detected in a commercial turkey breeder and two turkey meat flocks in North Carolina, according to a report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Sequencing determined the subtype/pathotype of H7N3 on all premises. Clinical signs noted were a slight drop in egg production in the turkey breeder flock. The plan for confirmed positive flocks is euthanasia (foam method) and disposal.

According to the OIE report, the three premises housed a total of 90,200 birds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture are conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation and have implemented enhanced surveillance and testing related to this finding. Five additional commercial poultry premises have been quarantined and sampled for avian influenza virus, and those results are pending, OIE said.

According to APHIS, LPAI viruses typically cause few or no clinical signs in infected poultry. The LPAI virus is excreted through infected birds’ feces and respiratory secretions. It spreads primarily through direct contact between healthy and infected birds. It can also be spread through indirect contact with contaminated equipment and materials.

European situation

Meanwhile, poultry producers in Central Europe continue to deal with an ongoing high-pathogenic H5N8 avian flu in Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The H5N8 outbreak was first reported in late December 2019 in several turkey operations in Poland and has spread to additional farms, most recently a backyard flock in Germany with ducks and chickens, OIE reported March 16.

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