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Swine flu infects turkeys at Virginia breeder farm, USDA says

By Rudy Ruitenberg, Bloomberg News | Republican-American

Swine flu infected turkeys at a breeding farm in Virginia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's first notice of the disease in poultry.

The H1N1 influenza strain affected a flock of about 3,270 turkey breeder hens in a single barn, possibly after contact with a sick worker, said a USDA notification to the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health dated Monday. The birds first tested positive Nov. 24 following a "significant drop" in egg production in one barn, and the virus was isolated Monday, it said.

"Information points to recent exposure of the turkeys to a farmworker exhibiting influenzalike symptoms," the alert said. "No other barns on the farm are reported to be affected and no other birds have shown signs of clinical illness."

The USDA has notified one other instance of an H1N1 outbreak — on Nov. 3 for pigs. The virus had previously been discovered in turkeys in Ontario, Canada, and Chile.

Weekly follow-up reports will be submitted, while the farm in Virginia remains under "enhanced biosecurity," the notification said.

"The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation of this event," according to the report.

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