March 28, 2022
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in poultry flocks in Meeker and Mower Counties. Samples collected from both flocks were tested on March 25 at either the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (MPTL) or the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) and were confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.
A Meeker County commercial turkey flock reported with mortality and signs of depression. Samples were collected and tested positive at the MPTL. The Mower County backyard mixed flock of chickens, ducks and geese reported increased mortality. Board staff collected samples and submitted them to the VDL in St. Paul for testing.
“These are the first cases of HPAI in the state of Minnesota since 2015,” said Dr. Dale Lauer, poultry program director for the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. “Poultry producers and backyard flock owners need to be on alert and contact their veterinarian immediately if they see any changes in their flocks. Everyone in poultry facilities needs to follow the site’s biosecurity protocols every time to prevent the spread of disease.”
The sites are quarantined, and depopulation of birds on the premises is already underway. Poultry are depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease; poultry from the infected flock will not enter the food system.
Biosecurity is paramount to stopping the spread of this and other viruses and disease. Flock owners large and small, from commercial operations to backyard flocks, should review their biosecurity measures to maintain the health of their birds. The Board established a 10 kilometer control area around the HPAI infected flock and animal health officials are identifying all premises with commercial or backyard poultry in this area. Those identified flocks will be quarantined and go through routine disease surveillance to make sure the virus isn’t spreading.
“The rapid response and testing surrounding the infected sites is the result of years of preparation with our local, state, federal and industry partners,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Beth Thompson.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA APHIS also confirmed over the weekend a positive case of HPAI in Franklin County, Iowa. The virus was found in a flock of commercial pullet chickens. This is the fifth commercial flock to test positive for the virus since the beginning of March.
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