More than 32,000 turkeys in North Carolina euthanized after positive sample of bird flu

A poultry farm in North Carolina euthanized about 32,000 turkeys as a preventative measure after a sample of the flock tested positive for high path avian influenza, (HPAI). 

The turkeys tested positive first at a diagnostic lab in North Carolina and later in a National Veterinary Services Lab in Iowa.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the presence of the bird flu strain in commercial and backyard flocks in several states.

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service "is partnering closely with animal health officials in the affected states on joint incident responses," agency spokesperson Rick Coker told USA TODAY in a written statement. "State officials have quarantined all affected premises, and birds on the properties were depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease."

Found in Midwest, South:Bird flu detected at multiple chicken and turkey farms

More positive tests:Bird flu detected in backyard flock on Long Island, New York

Bird flu has been confirmed across several states this year, according to USDA.

  • Massachusetts
  • Wyoming
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • Nebraska
  • Wisconsin 
  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • South Dakota
  • Maryland
  • Kansas
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • New York
  • Virginia 
  • Indiana
  • South Carolina

According to theUSDA, avian influenza, or “bird flu,” is a respiratory disease of birds caused by influenza A viruses and can kill domestic poultry. Its spreads rapidly through contact between the birds or contaminated material. 

"The main reason for depopulating commercial poultry or turkeys is to try and contain the spread because it can spread quite easily," Tara Harrison, with North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, told WRAL.

The avian flu "is devastating to farmers and to the birds they raise. HPAI does not discriminate between migratory birds, small backyard flocks or commercial poultry farms, and we urge all poultry owners to take precautions," Jim Chakeres, executive vice president, Ohio Poultry Association, said in a statement to USA TODAY. “It is important to know that both USDA and CDC confirm that HPAI cannot be transmitted through meat or eggs and that it is not a public health concern."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent bird flu detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.