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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Virginia halts poultry sales

Sue Lindsey Associated Press

ROANOKE, Va. – Virginia banned all live poultry sales and shows for the rest of July after the discovery of avian flu antibodies in a flock of 54,000 turkeys on a Shenandoah County farm.

State veterinarian Richard Wilkes issued an order Monday canceling all sales and exhibitions, Elaine Lidholm, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said Tuesday. The ban remains in effect until July 30.

The avian influenza strain poses no danger to humans, Lidholm said. “The danger is really to the industry,” she said.

Wilkes also issued a ban in 17 counties on the transfer and application of poultry litter, a combination of floor shavings and manure that is either processed into fertilizer or spread directly on fields.

Neighboring West Virginia on Monday suspended all poultry shows and sales for the next 30 days. Shenandoah County borders West Virginia.

The antibodies discovered in the turkey flock match those in a mild strain of avian influenza, but a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory is conducting tests to determine whether the antibodies are for low or the more severe high pathogenicity.

Lidholm said it appears to be a low pathogenic avian influenza strain, which is not as contagious as the high pathogenic strains that can spread quickly and are more likely to kill poultry.

The turkeys carrying the antibodies showed no signs of illness, Lidholm said.

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