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The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is rapidly spreading among poultry flocks in Minnesota, with the latest information from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health showing six more infected flocks, including two more in Kandiyohi County and one each in Becker, Dodge, Le Sueur and Stearns counties. 

That brings the number of Minnesota flocks infected with HPAI to 13, affecting a total of 581,933 birds. Eleven of the 13 flocks are commercial turkey properties, while the other two are backyard producers that account for only 135 birds. 

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When a Minnesota flock is confirmed to be carrying HPAI, response efforts begin immediately to mitigate spread. The affected property is placed under quarantine, followed by the depopulation of the entire flock. Bird carcasses are then composted inside the barns.

All flocks within 6.2 miles of the affected flock are also placed under quarantine and must undergo testing before normal poultry operations can resume. 

These are the first HPAI cases in Minnesota since 2015. That year, officials were concerned about the health of poultry, leading to the cancellation of all poultry shows at the 2015 Minnesota State Fair. The current outbreak has prompted the state to ban poultry sales and exhibitions until Sunday, May 1

Anyone with a poultry flock that exhibits signs of avian influenza – 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. 

Minnesota is No. 1 in the United States in turkey production, with more than 660 turkey farms in the state that raise about 40 million birds annually. 

The state provides avian influenza updates at 12 p.m. each weekday. You can find it here

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