Deadly bird flu confirmed in Minnesota, “sooner than anticipated” according to officials

(ABC 6 News) – Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in a Meeker County, Minnesota commercial turkey flock, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.

Samples were tested over the weekend at the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (MPTL) and were confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa Tuesday evening.

A Meeker County commercial turkey flock reported an increase in bird mortality last weekend, which led to samples being collected and tested at the MPTL.

After a presumptive positive result at the MPTL, the flock was immediately quarantined and has since been depopulated to stop the spread of disease.

Poultry from the infected flock will not enter the food system.

“While the timing of this detection is a bit sooner than we anticipated, we have been preparing for a resurgence of the avian influenza we dealt with this spring,” said Senior Veterinarian Dr. Shauna Voss. “HPAI is here and biosecurity is the first line of defense to protect your birds.”

The Associated Press says that across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 414 flocks in 39 states have been affected since February, costing producers over 40 million birds, mostly commercial turkeys and chickens. The disease has struck 81 Minnesota flocks this year, requiring the killing of nearly 2.7 million birds.

Minnesota produces more turkeys annually than any other state.

The disease is typically carried by migrating birds. It is considered low risk and only occasionally affects humans, such as farm workers, and the USDA keeps poultry from infected flocks out of the food supply.

widespread outbreak in 2015 killed 50 million birds across 15 states and cost the federal government nearly $1 billion.