Hopes that the worst of the bird flu outbreak in Minnesota had passed were dashed on Tuesday – after preliminary tests found the virus has struck six more commercial turkey farms.
There had been no new outbreaks of the H5N2 virus for more than week in Minnesota, giving hope that the spread of the virus seen over the past few months had plateaued.
But the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced Tuesday there have been "presumptive positive" tests at six more farms – a turkey flock of 46,800 in Brown County, as well as two flocks in Renville County and three in Kandiyohi County.
It is the first avian flu case in Brown County, while Renville has now had four detections and Kandiyohi has 36 – the highest of any county in the state.
It brings the total number of affected farms across Minnesota to 94 across 22 counties – with the majority of the 8 million birds affected having died from the virus or been euthanized to prevent its spread.
The Star Tribune notes the last new outbreak had been announced on May 15, the longest gap between cases since early to mid-March.
The newspaper adds that animal scientists had hoped the flu would starting slowing down and dying out for the summer as the weather gets warmer. Bethany Hahn, of the Board of Animal Health, said they are still "guardedly optimistic" this will be the case.