March 15, 2014
Agriculture officials say no new cases of Avian flu have been reported since July 2. But they're reluctant to say the state's worst outbreak of the poultry disease is officially over.
It started in March when turkeys at three farms in Rockingham County tested positive for exposure to avian flu. Three months later, nearly five million birds from nearly 200 farms had been destroyed, at a cost to farmers estimated at more than $140 million.
U.S. Agriculture Department spokesman Ed Curlett says the department is reducing its Avian flu task force in Virginia, which numbered nearly 200 people at the height of the epidemic.
Curlett and state agriculture department spokeswoman Elaine Lidholm attribute the apparent halt of the disease to aggressive efforts by state and federal officials working with the poultry industry.