The outbreak of highly pathogenic H5Nx influenza A viruses in the United States during 2014 - 2015 caused devastating economic losses; therefore, several measures were put into place to control and eliminate the highly pathogenic H5Nx from the U.S. poultry flock. One such measure was a temporary ban on poultry exhibitions during 2015; a decision that dramatically affected youth raising poultry as part of agricultural education programs. During the summer of 2016, surveillance of the environment was conducted at twenty Ohio agricultural fairs to estimate the prevalence of influenza A virus in exhibition poultry in order to determine the baseline during non-outbreak exhibition seasons. Of the 400 total samples collected, two were positive by rRT-PCR, however virus isolation attempts with both embryonating chicken eggs and cell culture were unsuccessful. The detection of nucleic acid highlights the risk exhibition poultry could play in the transmission and spread of influenza A viruses between humans, swine, wild birds, and domestic poultry during low or highly pathogenic influenza A virus outbreaks. Additional surveillance at agricultural fairs and education for youth exhibitors around biosecurity in this setting is warranted to reduce risk.

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