Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

H5N2 avian flu found in Minnesota turkey flock

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

U.S. officials have confirmed a commercial turkey flock in central Minnesota to be the first in the Mississippi flyway with a highly pathogenic strain of H5N2 avian flu.

The high-path strain is confirmed as the same seen in recent months in backyard flocks and wild birds in the Pacific flyway states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said in a release Thursday.

Quarantines are still in place in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley at four of 11 commercial poultry and egg farms, and at one “non-commercial” farm, all of which were confirmed in December as infected with high-path H5N2.

Sampled and tested after reports of “increased mortality,” the Minnesota turkey breeder replacement flock is in Pope County, about midway between Minneapolis and Fargo, N.D., according to APHIS.

The Mississippi flyway is a flight path for migratory birds running up from the Gulf of Mexico through the U.S. Midwest into Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada’s northern territories, northwestern Quebec and the Alberta and B.C. Peace region.

APHIS said it’s partnering “closely” with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on a joint incident response, as state officials have quarantined the farm and the remainder of the flock will be “depopulated.”

Birds from the flock will not enter the food system, APHIS said, but noted the risk to people from these infections, whether in commercial flocks, backyard flocks or wild birds, is “low.” The virus is killed in poultry and eggs cooked to internal temperatures of 165 F (74 C). — Network

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