The number of commercial turkey operations in Minnesota hit by the HPAI H5N2 avian flu continues to rise, with 4 new farms announced today, making a total of 13. The hardest hit county has been Stearns, which reports its 4th infected farm today.
The three new areas reporting this avian flu virus are Cottonwood, Lyon and Watonwan counties, all clustered in the southwestern part of the state.
According to media reports a team of USDA epidemiologists arrived earlier this week to help state and local agencies figure out how the virus is spreading to new farms despite the enhanced biosecurity measures that are in place.
While migratory birds are strongly suspected of carrying and dispersing the virus along the Pacific and Mississippi Flyways, thus far Minnesota has yet to report finding the virus in any wild birds (see Wild Bird Findings confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories).
This is today’s announcement from APHIS.
Last Modified: Apr 10, 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 10, 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 an additional four commercial turkey flocks in Minnesota. There are thirteen total confirmed cases in Minnesota. These flocks are 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.
The affected flocks are in:
- Cottonwood County - 48,000 turkeys
- Lyon County - 66,000 turkeys
- Stearns County 45,000 turkeys (4th detection in the county)
- Watonwan County - 30,000 turkeys
Samples from the turkey flocks, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) 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.
The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world. As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4) Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirming that the poultry farm is AI virus-free. USDA also is working with its partners to actively look and test for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.