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5 additional Minnesota sites infected with avian flu

Kandiyohi County now has three commercial turkey flocks confirmed infected with avian flu. According to the Board of Animal Health's daily update posted online Monday, six more sites in Minnesota are listed as infected with H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza, bringing the total to 13 sites, though one of those is not yet a confirmed diagnosis.

WCT.Stock.Poultry.Turkey.01 Breeding turkeys on a farm.
A turkey flock in a stock file photo.
Source / Adobe Stock
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WILLMAR — Two more commercial turkey flocks in Kandiyohi County are confirmed infected with avian influenza, among five additional confirmed sites in Minnesota identified Monday in the state Board of Animal Health's daily web update. A sixth site listed as infected was quarantined but not yet confirmed as of Monday.

A flock of 40,000 meat turkeys and a flock of 49,000 breeder hens are the second and third infected turkey flocks in Kandiyohi County. Both were confirmed infected with H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza on April 3, according to the Board of Animal Health.

A third infected site in Stearns County, a commercial flock of 28,000 meat turkeys, was confirmed April 2.

The other infected sites posted Monday are in Becker, Dodge and LeSueur counties, the first in each of those counties. All three are commercial flocks of meat turkeys.

The Becker County and LeSueur County flocks — 45,000 and 22,000 birds, respectively — were confirmed April 3. The Dodge County flock of 20,000 does not list a diagnosis confirmation date, but a quarantine was placed April 4.

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The Board of Animal Health web page on the avian flu response at bah.state.mn.us/hpai is updated each weekday. The new sites reported Monday bring the total infected sites to 13 — one of those as yet unconfirmed — and the number of affected birds to 581,933.

The first cases of H5N1 in Minnesota were confirmed March 25, according to the Board of Animal Health.

The earlier confirmations were in commercial turkey flocks in Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Morrison and Stearns counties, and backyard flocks in Mower and Stearns counties.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza is extremely contagious and fatal to domestic poultry. According to the Board of Animal Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture carries out a number of steps to manage the disease and reduce any potential risk of its spread.

USDA works with owners of infected flocks to depopulate remaining poultry, and all carcasses on the affected farms are composted inside of the barns.

A response zone of 6.2 miles is created around any infected site in order to control movement and establish an area for testing and surveillance protocols.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild waterfowl in the Atlantic flyways in January 2022.

On Feb. 8, the inspection service confirmed avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana, and the disease has since been confirmed in multiple states, including Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, according to the USDA.

Susan Lunneborg is the news editor of the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota. A journalist for more than 25 years, she has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Lunneborg can be reached at: slunneborg@wctib.com or 320-214-4343.
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