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USDA confirms bird flu in Minnesota turkey flocks

turkeysWASHINGTON, D.C. – 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 eight commercial turkey flocks in Minnesota. There are 22 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:

Kandiyohi County – 30,000 turkeys (4th detection in the county)
Le Sueur County – 21,500 turkeys (1st detection in the county)
Meeker County – 25,000 turkeys (2nd detection in the county)
Meeker County – 20,000 turkeys (3rd detection in the county)
Stearns County – 76,000 turkeys (5th detection in the county)
Swift County – 160,000 turkeys (1st detection in the county)
Swift County – 154,000 turkeys (2nd detection in the county)
Redwood County – 56,000 turkeys (1st detection in the county)

Samples from the turkey flocks 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.

The Minnesota Department of Health is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses.

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