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Thousands more turkeys to be killed as bird flu spreads to 4th MN farm

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Another Minnesota turkey farm has been infected with a bird flu strain that is deadly to poultry, the state Board of Animal Health announced Thursday.

The H5N2 (HPAI) avian influenza was recently confirmed at a commercial turkey farm in Nobles County. The flock of 21,000 turkeys is located in the Mississippi flyway, where the strain of avian influenza was first confirmed in the state in early March.

This is the fourth commercial farm in Minnesota to confirm avian influenza. Other cases happened on different farms in different counties, including Pope CountyLac qui Parle County and Stearns County, and appear to be isolated incidents, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) said.

The risk to people from this strain of avian influenza is low, and no human infections have been detected, officials note. The risk of infection is limited to people who are in direct contact the affected birds.

State officials have quarantined all the affected farms and all birds on the property – even the healthy turkeys – will be euthanized to help prevent the disease from spreading, the Board of Animal Health says. The animals will not enter the food source.

MTGA says turkey farmers continue to be on high alert and have adjusted their sanitation procedures to protect their flocks.

Minnesota is the nation's top turkey producing state. These types of outbreaks threaten the state's economy, MPR News reported, due to loss of birds and the possible halt of exports.

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