Low pathogenic avian flu confirmed in Minnesota turkeys

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) has confirmed a case of H5N2 low pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Kandiyohi County.

Roy Graber Headshot
Photo courtesy of Iowa Turkey Federation
Photo courtesy of Iowa Turkey Federation

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) has confirmed a case of H5N2 low pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Kandiyohi County. The disease was detected during routine surveillance testing of the flock of 10,000 13-week-old turkey toms on October 19.

This farm includes an additional three barns housing 10,000 birds each, all of which have tested negative, according to the state agency.

Tracheal swab samples were collected from turkeys and submitted to the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (MPTL) in Willmar, Minnesota. Tests identified the virus as an H5 influenza strain. The Board of Animal Health quarantined the flock and sent samples to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. The NVSL confirmed the presence of H5N2 low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) virus of North American origin on October 20.

The state agency has increased observation of the quarantined flock, watching for any signs of disease, and has increased surveillance of commercial poultry operations within 10 kilometers of the positive flock, all with negative test results. At this time, the affected flock is not showing signs of illness or mortality. The birds will be quarantined until they test negative for disease, at which time they will be controlled marketed.

A report from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) stated that there were birds in the flock that were susceptible.

The state board is working with all federal, state and industry partners to prevent the spread of the disease. Poultry producers are asked to maintain strong biosecurity practices at their facilities to isolate their flocks from outside sources of infection.

Kandiyohi County was the site of about 40 highly pathogenic avian influenza infections during the 2015 outbreak. However, this latest case of avian influenza is not the same strain as was present during that outbreak, which ultimately led to the loss of millions of birds in the United States.

California cases of avian influenza

While Minnesota is now dealing with H5N2 low pathogenic avian influenza, California has been dealing with cases of H7N3 low pathogenic avian influenza.

California has had five cases of avian influenza this fall, all of which were located in Stanislaus County. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, its latest case was confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory on October 11.

Four of the five turkey farms affected by avian influenza were National Poultry Improvement Plan commercial flock participants.

An approximate 10-kilometer (km) Surveillance Zone has been established around the detections of LPAI. CDFA and USDA continue to work closely with poultry producers and veterinarians in the areas around affected premises to test other flocks for avian influenza and limit additional introductions and spread.  

The first three affected flocks were euthanized and disposed of to eliminate virus and control disease. Plans for the fourth and fifth affected flocks are being evaluated to determine the most appropriate way to stop further spread.

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