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High-path H7N3 confirmed on South Carolina turkey farm

HIGHLY PATHOGENIC avian influenza has been found in the USA for the first time since 2017.

A flock of 35,000 turkeys in Chesterfield County, South Carolina tested positive for H7N3 avian influenza on 6 April, and the US formally reported the case four days later.

Authorities said the farm had an epidemiological link with another South Carolina farm where low-path H7N3 had been found, but that a formal link between the two had not been confirmed.

Birds were culled, the site quarantined, and movement restrictions were put in place, state officials said.

Depopolated

“The flock was quickly depopulated and will not enter the marketplace,” said Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation.

“Thorough disinfecting and cleaning procedures have already been initiated on premises as well as surveillance of commercial flocks in the surrounding area. This occurrence poses no threat to public health. Turkey products remain safe and nutritious.”

Surveillance

A USDA spokesman added: “The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.

“USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to encourage adherence to OIE standards and minimize trade impacts.”

See also: H5N8 avian influenza: Cluster of 40 cases confirmed in Hungary

Over 2014 and 2015, the US experienced an outbreak of avian influenza centred around egg-laying farms in Iowa in which 50 million birds were culled.

Since then, many companies have upped biosecurity measures.