The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has lifted the last of the quarantines that were placed on each of the 108 farms infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in 2015. All sites have completed cleaning and disinfection of their facilities and have received negative influenza test results from environmental samples taken in and around the infected barns.
Ninety percent of previously infected sites were cleared to restock as of October 6. Since then, the remaining farms have completed the steps required to gain clearance for restocking their barns with poultry. Restocked poultry on all the affected farms have tested negative which provides additional assurances that the HPAI virus has been eradicated from Minnesota.
“Minnesota poultry growers have worked tirelessly alongside animal health officials to eliminate this disease from our state” said Dr. Bill Hartmann, state veterinarian and executive director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. “Completing disease response and recovery efforts could not have happened without the collaboration of state and federal agencies and Minnesota’s strong poultry industry.”
The first case of HPAI in Minnesota was announced on March 5. Throughout the outbreak, poultry on 108 farms spanning 23 counties were infected with HPAI in Minnesota. Over nine million birds were depopulated or died due to the virus, including commercial turkeys, commercial layers and one backyard flock. The last case of HPAI in Minnesota was confirmed on June 5.
“While seeing no new cases of HPAI is encouraging, we know that detecting future cases remains a possibility,” said Dr. Hartmann.
Though HPAI is not currently circulating in Minnesota’s domestic bird population, the Board of Animal Health remains vigilant in preparing for future cases of the disease. The board continues to work with government and industry partners to enhance response plans, and strengthen surveillance and biosecurity efforts aimed at preventing farm to farm spread of the disease.