Today APHIS announced that Meeker becomes the 6th Minnesota County to report an HPAI H5N2 outbreak, as the 9th commercial turkey farm in the state has been hit by the virus.
While migratory birds are being eyed as having brought the virus to Minnesota, exactly how this highly pathogenic avian virus is entering, and infecting these farms hasn’t been determined.
According to media reports a team of USDA epidemiologists arrived today to help state and local agencies figure out how the virus is spreading despite the enhanced biosecurity measures that are in place.
Published: Apr 8, 2015
CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low
WASHINGTON, April 08, 2015 -- The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Meeker County, Minnesota. This is the ninth confirmation in a commercial flock in Minnesota. The flock of 310,000 turkeys is located within the Mississippi flyway where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified. CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time.
Samples from the turkey flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the findings. NVSL is the only internationally recognized AI reference laboratory in the United States. APHIS is working closely with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.
Although HPAI H5 viruses have now been reported in a dozen US states, Minnesota has been the hardest hit, likely due to the large turkey population in that state. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health provides the following advice for protecting both commercial and backyard flocks.
Protecting your birds from disease has always been important. However, taking biosecurity to the next level is now more crucial than ever. As we work together to eliminate HPAI and add strength to Minnesota’s poultry industry, there are small steps you can take that will have a big impact.
- Eliminate opportunities for your birds to interact with wild birds. We know that wild waterfowl are carriers of disease, including HPAI. The best way to avoid diseases that wildlife carry is to keep domestic animals separated from the wild.
- If you have birds at home, do not visit another farm, home or facility that also has birds. If you must visit another premises, be sure to shower and put on clean clothes and shoes beforehand.
- Remember that vehicles can be vehicles for disease transmission. Before you drive down the road, consider where you are going. Will you be heading to the fair, another farm or a live bird market? If the answer is yes, be sure your vehicle is clean and free of dirt, manure and other organic material.
- Early detection can help prevent the spread of disease. Knowing the signs to look for and monitoring the health of your birds on a regular basis is very important. Some signs to look for include nasal discharge, unusually quiet birds, decreased food and water consumption, drop in egg production, and increased/unusual death loss in your flock.
- Report sick and dead birds to state health officials immediately. If your birds appear sick or you have experienced increased mortality, fill out our online report form, call the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory at 320-231-5170, or contact your local veterinarian right away.