Influenza virus infections can cause respiratory and systemic disease of variable severity and also result in economic losses for the turkey industry. Several subtypes of influenza can infect turkeys, causing diverse clinical signs. Influenza subtypes of swine origin have been diagnosed in turkey premises; however, it is not known how common these infections are nor the likely routes of transmission. We conducted a cross-sectional study to estimate the prevalence of influenza viruses and examine factors associated with infection on Minnesota turkey premises. Results from influenza diagnostic tests and turkey and pig premise location data were obtained from the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, respectively, from January 2007 to September 2008. Diagnostic data from 356 premises were obtained, of which 17 premises tested positive for antibodies to influenza A virus by agar gel immunodiffusion assay and were confirmed as either H1N1 or H3N2 influenza viruses by hemagglutination and neuraminidase inhibition assays. Influenza infection status was associated with proximity to pig premises and flock size. The latter had a sparing effect on influenza status. This study suggests that H1N1 and H3N2 influenza virus infections of turkey premises in Minnesota are an uncommon event. The route of influenza virus transmission could not be determined; however, the findings suggest that airborne transmission should be considered in future studies.
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Vol. 56 • No. 3