Avian flu statuses updated

CFIA confirms Ontario turkey flock had H5N2 avian flu, and Jennie-O Turkey Store explains company involvement.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) testing at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease has confirmed the strain causing the April 6 avian influenza outbreak on a turkey farm near Woodstock, Ont., as a H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus.

H5N2 is a subtype that is known to affect wild and domestic birds. A highly pathogenic virus, as opposed to a low pathogenic virus, causes severe illness and death in birds. All birds on the infected premises will be humanely euthanized in the coming days, under CFIA supervision.

CFIA has also quarantined several nearby poultry operations.

Meanwhile, Jennie-O Turkey Store has confirmed in a statement on its website that it has been collaborating with others in the poultry industry as well as government agencies and the University of Minnesota for months to monitor the avian influenza situation as it unfolds and to prepare for its possibility in Minnesota.

The Meeker County confirmation announced April 8 is the first company-owned facility to test positive for HPAI. The operation has 12 turkey barns on the site.

Of the previously confirmed cases of HPAI, four involved flocks owned or processed by Jennie-O but were being raised by contract and/or independent growers, including one flock each in Kandiyohi, Stearns and Lac Qui Parle counties, the company explained.

At this point, the only Jennie-O Turkey Store flocks impacted are those identified above. The turkeys in Jennie-O's supply chain that have been affected by HPAI make up a small percentage of the company’s production.

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