New Outbreaks of High-path Avian Flu in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota

US - Two new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza of the H5N2 variant were confirmed on turkey farms on 16 April (as well as one outbreak in a backyard flock) following four on the previous day.
calendar icon 17 April 2015
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According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), two new outbreaks of H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza were confirmed on 16 April, both in commercial turkeys - one in Barron county, Wisconsin (affecting 126,000 birds) and the other in Roseau county in Minnesota (26,000 birds).

There are four outbreaks listed for 15 April, again all in commercial turkeys: three in Minnesota (Kandiyoh, Stearns and Otter Tail counties; 240,000 birds affected in total) and one in South Dakota (Roberts county; no information on number birds).

All of these outbreaks ar elinked to the Mississippi flyway used by migrating birds.

In Minnesota, a total of 1.6 million poultry on 26 farms in 14 counties have been affected by high-path bird flu so far, according to the state agriculture department.

The bird flu outbreak is likely to continue for a few years and possibly damage poultry farms across the nation, according to a top US veterinary official.

Star Tribune reports John Clifford, chief veterinary officer for the USDA, saying: “This is something very unusual, where we have seen bird flu adapt so well.”

He was addressing a Minnesota House agriculture committee.

The House voted unanimously to offer up almost $900,000 to help state agencies battle the virus. The infection has already cost tens of millions of dollars for the birds lost in Minnesota alone.

The USDA has already spent $15 million helping stricken farmers, and that is just the beginning, according to the newspaper.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture is responding to the detection of avian influenza in an additional two poultry flocks in Wisconsin. There are now three cases in Wisconsin. These flocks are within the Mississippi flyway where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified. While lethal to domestic poultry, the strain of virus detected is not known to have caused disease in humans and is not expected to pose a risk to public health or the food supply.

The affected flocks are in:

  • Juneau County - 40 mixed breed birds in a backyard flock
  • Barron County - 126,000 turkeys in a commercial turkey flock

The properties were immediately quarantined and neighboring properties with poultry will be notified about the situation. Remaining birds will be depopulated and will not enter the food supply. Following USDA protocols, surveillance and testing procedures are underway at properties near the affected facility to ensure the virus has not spread.

The H5 avian influenza virus was first detected in Wisconsin at a commercial chicken flock in Jefferson County on 13 April, which will result in the depopulation of more than 180,000 egg-laying chickens. Multiple outbreaks of avian influenza have occurred most recently in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, the Dakotas and Kansas leading to the depopulation of more than one million turkeys and chickens since January.

Further Reading

You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

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