Highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza has been confirmed to be present in a commercial turkey flock in Pope County, Minnesota, the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced. Further information about the farm’s identity or any poultry companies it may be affiliated with have not yet been released.
This is the first finding of avian influenza in the Mississippi flyway, according to APHIS.
H5N2 is the same strain of avian influenza that has been confirmed in backyard and wild birds in Washington, Oregon and Idaho as part of the ongoing incident in the Pacific flyway.
Samples from the turkey breeder replacement flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the finding. APHIS is partnering closely with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and the remaining birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the involved flock will not enter the food system.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks, and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time. The Minnesota Department of Health is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure they are taking the proper precautions.
Federal and State partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area, following existing avian influenza response plans.
USDA is informing the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and international trading partners of this finding. USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to encourage adherence to OIE standards and minimize trade impacts. OIE trade guidelines call on countries to base trade restrictions on sound science and, whenever possible, limit restrictions to those animals and animal products within a defined region that pose a risk of spreading disease of concern.