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Avian flu confirmed in backyard flocks in Swift, Carver counties, bringing Minnesota sites to 62

The inventory of flocks in Minnesota diagnosed with H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza now stands at 62 sites, with a total of 2,718,082 birds affected, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Two additional infection sites were announced Friday, April 29.

WCT.stock.poultry.checkens.04 Hens in factory, Chicken in cages
There were two additional sites included in Friday's update from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. More than 2.7 million birds have been affected in the state since the first cases in March.
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WILLMAR — The number of avian flu infection sites in Minnesota now stands at 62 heading into the weekend, with more than 2.7 million birds affected since March, most of them commercially raised turkeys.

Two new confirmations — backyard flocks of 20 and 16 birds, respectively, in Carver and Swift counties — were announced as of Friday's noon update from the state Board of Animal Health.

The Board of Animal Health tally as of Friday shows 2,718,082 affected birds in 20 counties throughout the state. Infected flocks are depopulated.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines depopulation as "when large numbers of animals must be destroyed in response to an animal health emergency."

The two main methods are water-based foam for floor-raised birds and carbon dioxide gas for caged birds. USDA says they are the most humane and effective options available in an emergency situation involving mass numbers of birds.

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The vast majority of infections in Minnesota have been in commercial meat turkey operations. Other production types with confirmed diagnoses, according to the Board of Animal Health, have been three commercial turkey breeder hen flocks, all located in Kandiyohi County; two commercial chicken operations in Morrison County — one broiler flock and one egg layer flock; and seven backyard producers.

The board's web page devoted to avian flu response in the state — bah.state.mn.us/hpai is updated at noon each weekday with the information that is known about infection sites. Data from previous days also may be updated by quality control staff if more accurate information is gathered later.

The first Minnesota cases of the disease — which is fatal to domestic poultry — were confirmed March 25.

A total of 20 counties in the state have been impacted so far. The other affected counties are Becker, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Dodge, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, LeSueur, Meeker, Morrison, Mower, Otter Tail, Renville, Rice, Stearns, Todd, Waseca and Yellow Medicine.

Kit Grode joined the West Central Tribune as the features and sections editor in July 2021. She oversees the weekly Showcase and Extra feature segments and also the WCT's special sections.
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