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Avian flu confirmed in west-central Minnesota turkey flock

Testing of a commercial turkey flock in Meeker County has come back positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza. The flock has been depopulated to stop the spread of the disease.

Turkeys
A commercial turkey flock in Meeker County tested positive for the avian influenza over the weekend. The flock was quarantined and depopulated to stop the spread of the disease.
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LITCHFIELD, Minn. — A commercial turkey flock in Meeker County, Minnesota, tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza, after increased bird mortality over last weekend was reported and testing was completed.

According to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, the flock of 128,599 turkeys was immediately quarantined after a presumptive positive result was given by the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory.

The positive result was confirmed Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories and the flock has been depopulated to stop the spread of the disease. The birds from the infected flock will not enter the food chain.

This is the first reported positive case of the disease in Minnesota since May, according to the board. Prior to this Meeker County case, approximately 2.96 million birds had been affected by the disease, either by infection or depopulation, in Minnesota.

This strain of avian influenza has a low risk to humans, and poultry remains safe to eat as long as it is handled and cooked properly.

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In a news release issued Wednesday announcing the positive result, Senior Veterinarian Dr. Shauna Voss from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health said while the timing of the new positive case is earlier than they thought it would be, a fall resurgence of avian influenza is expected.

"HPAI is here and biosecurity is the first line of defense to protecting your birds," Voss said.

To help stop the spread, the Board of Animal Health establishes a 10-kilometer control area around infected flocks, and animal health officials identify all premises with commercial or backyard poultry in the area. Commercial flocks will be quarantined and go through routine surveillance.

Those with poultry flocks which are exhibiting any of the clinical signs of influenza such as a drop in water consumption or increased mortality, or if the birds are believed have been exposed to the disease, should immediately contact their veterinarian.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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