An outbreak of low-pathogenicity H7N2 avian influenza virus (AIV) in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia during the spring and summer of 2002 affected 197 farms and resulted in the destruction of over 4.7 million birds. The outbreak affected primarily turkey farms (28 breeders, 125 grow out) with some spillover into chicken farms (29 breeders, 13 grow out, 2 table-egg layers). Although no direct link was established, the strain of H7N2 AIV in this outbreak had a molecular fingerprint that was essentially identical to the H7N2 AIV strain that has circulated in the live bird markets of the northeastern United States for the last 8 yr. After an initial delay caused by lack of viable disposal options, depopulation and disposal, primarily in sanitary landfills, was carried out within 24 hr of detection of a positive flock. Increased surveillance efforts included once-a-week testing of the daily mortality of all poultry farms in the region, testing of all breeder farms every 2 wk, and testing of all flocks prior to movement for any reason. A statistical sampling of backyard flocks and wild birds found no evidence of the virus. The successful eradication of this outbreak was the result of the efforts of a highly effective task force of industry, state, and federal personnel.
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