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There are now 21 poultry flocks – a rise of 13 in the past three days – in Minnesota infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) for a total of 1,017,568 birds that are now in the process of being "depopulated" to prevent further spread of the vicious disease. 

The two largest flocks are commercial properties in Meeker County, one accounting for 240,000 turkeys and the other 180,000 turkeys. Here are the counties and associated flocks where avian influenza has been confirmed. 

  • 1 in Becker County
  • 1 in Big Stone County
  • 1 in Dodge County
  • 4 in Kandiyohi County
  • 1 in Lac Qui Parle County
  • 1 in Le Sueur County
  • 2 in Meeker County
  • 4 in Morrison County
  • 1 in Mower County
  • 4 in Stearns County
  • 1 in Waseca County

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 farm are also placed under quarantine and must undergo testing before normal poultry operations can resume.

Avian influenza is not known to infect humans. 

These are the first HPAI cases in Minnesota since 2015, with the first cases detected this year on March 25.  In 2015, the outbreak led 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.

More than 51 million birds were euthanized during the 2014-15 outbreak across the United States, including more than 9 million in Minnesota, which prompted the activation of the National Guard to assist with disease control. 

This year, Iowa has been hit the hardest, with more than 13 million birds affected since the first case was detected there in early March. 

Anyone with a poultry flock exhibiting signs of avian influenza should immediately contact their veterinarian and call the Minnesota Poultry Testing Lab at 320-231-5170.

Signs and symptoms of HPAI, according to officials, include: 

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Decrease in egg production
  • Soft- or thin-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
  • Purple/blue discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs
  • Gasping for air (difficulty breathing)
  • Coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge (runny nose)
  • Stumbling or falling down
  • Diarrhea

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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