Egg-layer chicken farm among 2 possible new cases of bird flu in Minnesota

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A commercial egg-layer chicken farm is one of two more farms in Minnesota to have a "presumptive positive" test for bird flu, health officials say.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety revealed that two flocks – in Renville County and Meeker County – are presumed infected with avian flu, which if confirmed will bring the total number of infected farms in the state to 87.

A flock of egg-layer chickens are infected in Renville, the second confirmed case in the county, while a commercial turkey flock has become Meeker County's ninth case.

As of Wednesday, farms in 21 Minnesota counties have confirmed cases of the H5N2 avian flu strain, affecting 5.765 million birds which have died or been euthanized to prevent further spread.

The outbreak has been primarily confined to turkey farms in Minnesota, but has spread to egg-layer chicken farms in Iowa (where 23 million chickens are affected) and Wisconsin.

South Dakota also had its first case of bird flu at an egg-layer farm confirmed on Thursday, affecting a flock of some 1.3 million birds, the Associated Press reports.

MPR notes the spread of the virus appears to be slowing, noting that as of yesterday there had only been one confirmed new case, though this will now rise to three. Last week however there were nine new cases by Wednesday.

It's been reported this week the outbreak is likely to have a knock-on effect on the price of turkey, eggs and goods such as mayonnaise and cake mix that have eggs in them.

Officials have said the risk of the virus entering the food supply and passing on to humans is extremely low.

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