On April 9th, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the detection of a highly pathogenic Avian influenza (H7N3) in a commercial turkey flock in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. No human cases have been detected, and there is no immediate public health concern.
This is the first detection of HPAI in the US since 2017 and is believed to have mutated from low pathogenic H7N3 previously detected at commercial turkey facilities in North Carolina, near the South Carolina border. State animal health officials in both states and the USDA implemented standard response protocols including increased observational surveillance and disease testing in the area beginning in mid-March when the initial detection was made.
Rapid actions to limit the spread of disease were taken by the producer and State Animal Health Officials, with USDA support. The premises has been placed under quarantined and birds have been depopulated and will not enter the food chain.
This event is a good reminder that an industry can deal with multiple disasters at one time, in this case, COVID 19 and HPAI. All bird owners should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for can be found at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/defendtheflock.
For more information on HPAI preparedness for Special Avian Collections, see the following links: