Avian flu reaches Minnesota; An outbreak in Mower County


St Paul (KROC AM News) – The latest wave of bird flu that has spread through the county has surfaced in Minnesota and one of the outbreaks has been confirmed in Mower County.

The Minnesota Animal Health Council made the announcement on Saturday, a day after affected poultry flocks were tested for highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI).

Infected herds include:

  • A mixed flock of backyard chickens, ducks and geese in Mower County reported increased mortality (17 animals – mixed backyard species)
  • A flock of commercial turkeys in Meeker County reported mortality and signs of depression (nearly 300,000 turkeys)

It’s the first time bird flu has been confirmed in Minnesota since 2015, when the state’s poultry industry was hammered by the disease, losing millions of chickens and turkeys and forced to face strict quarantines. .

Iowa, South Dakota and Wisconsin are among more than a dozen states where the flu has been confirmed earlier.

The advice states that poultry is safe to eat and it is always advisable to properly handle and cook poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F. The Centers for Disease Control also recently announced that this strain of bird flu poses a low risk to the public.

No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

“These are the first cases of HPAI in the state of Minnesota since 2015,” said Dr Dale Lauer, poultry program manager for the council. “Poultry producers and owners of backyard flocks should be on alert and contact their veterinarian immediately if they notice any changes in their flocks. Everyone in poultry facilities must follow site biosecurity protocols at all times to prevent the spread of disease.

The sites are quarantined and the depopulation of birds on the premises is already underway. Poultry are depopulated to prevent the spread of disease; poultry from the infected flock will not enter the food system.

Biosecurity is paramount to stopping the spread of this virus and other diseases. Flock owners large and small, from commercial operations to backyard flocks, should review their biosecurity measures to maintain the health of their birds. The Council has established a 10 kilometer control zone around the HPAI-infected flock and animal health officials are in the process of identifying all premises with commercial or backyard poultry within this zone. These identified herds will be quarantined and subject to routine disease surveillance to ensure the virus is not spreading.

“The rapid response and testing surrounding infected sites is the result of years of preparation with our local, state, federal and industry partners,” said state veterinarian Dr. Beth Thompson.

If you have a flock showing clinical signs of influenza, such as decreased water intake or increased mortality, or if you suspect it may have been exposed to birds with influenza, immediately call your veterinary. If you are a veterinarian and you receive reports of clinical signs of avian flu, call the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory at 320-231-5170. If it’s after hours or on the weekend, call the Minnesota duty officer at 1-800-422-0798.

Subsequent HPAI detections in Minnesota will be posted on the website. The Council is the official source of information for Minnesota’s response to HPAI.

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