Avian Influenza is a highly-contagious disease of poultry that is of concern to Virginia’s poultry industry. The Virginia Poultry Federation, which includes most of the commercial poultry producing companies in the state, has instituted a policy that requires routine pre-slaughter testing of all birds before they go to market. The value of this surveillance was obvious in the summer of 2007 when a flock of turkeys tested positive for A.I. antibodies during routine testing. Testing by the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa confirmed the presence of Low Pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza antibodies (LPAI).
In response to the discovery of antibodies, the State Veterinarian prohibited all public shows and sales in Virginia and banned the movement of poultry litter, manure and bedding in 17 counties. Later, the State Veterinarian amended litter movement restrictions to poultry farms within a two mile radius of the index farm, and on July 30, canceled the ban on shows and sales. Enhanced surveillance for influenza in flocks near the infected flock continued through the end of August.