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Bird flu (H5N1) has been confirmed in two poultry flocks in Minnesota, according to a new release issued by the state's Board of Animal Health on Saturday. 

The avian influenza was confirmed in flocks in Meeker and Mower counties. No human cases of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have been detected, and the Centers of Disease Control says there is low risk to the public. 

“These are the first cases of HPAI in the state of Minnesota since 2015,” said a Board of Animal Health spokesperson. “Poultry producers and backyard flock owners need to be on alert and contact their veterinarian immediately if they see any changes in their flocks. Everyone in poultry facilities needs to follow the site’s biosecurity protocols every time to prevent the spread of disease.”

The infected flocks include are a Meeker County commercial turkey flock and a Mower County backyard mixed flock of chickens, ducks and geese. The Meeker County flock was suffering from increased mortality and signs of depression, while the Mower County flock also had increased mortality. 

Both flocks have been quarantined and the birds will be killed to prevent further spread of the disease. The "depopulation" of the birds has already begun, the Board of Animal Health said. 

Anyone with a flock that exhibits signs of influenza, including showing a decline in drinking, signs of depression, ruffled feathers, and being quieter than normal, should immediately contact their veterinarian and call the Minnesota Poultry Testing Lab at 320-231-5170. If it is after normal business hours, people can call the Minnesota Duty Officer at 1-800-422-0798. 

Avian influenza is highly contagious and spreads easily among chickens. It is an airborne respiratory virus that can also spread through nasal and eye secretions, and manure. 

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