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More than 1 million birds affected by avian flu outbreak in Minnesota

The inventory of flocks in Minnesota diagnosed with H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza is 1,017,568 as of Wednesday, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Six additional infection sites were announced Wednesday after being diagnosed April 5.

WCT.Stock.Poultry.Turkeys.04 Picture young turkeys in green grass.
The inventory of flocks in Minnesota diagnosed with H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza is 1,017,568 as of Wednesday, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.
Source / Adobe Stock
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Editor's note: Since the original publication of this story, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health has changed the production classification of the flock diagnosed with avian flu April 5 in Waseca County. Originally classified as a slaughter location, the infection is now listed as a commercial meat turkey operation. According to the Board of Animal Health, data collected as cases arise are based on the best information available at the time, and staff working in quality control routinely review data and make updates if more accurate information is collected.

WILLMAR — An additional six poultry flocks diagnosed with avian flu April 5 have pushed the state of Minnesota over 1 million birds affected by the outbreak.

According to the state Board of Animal Health's daily web update posted Wednesday, the inventory of flocks diagnosed with H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza is 1,017,568.

Twenty-one infection sites have been identified in the state since the first cases of the disease — which is fatal to domestic poultry — were confirmed March 25, according to the Board of Animal Health.

Five commercial flocks of meat turkeys were diagnosed April 5 and included in Wednesday's update, as well as one commercial poultry slaughter location in Waseca County, the first infection site in that county and the first report from a slaughter operation.

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A newly diagnosed flock of 128,000 turkeys in Meeker County is the second site in that county, and a flock of 41,350 in Stearns County is the fourth there. Morrison County now has four sites, including the two new reports posted Wednesday: flocks of 27,675 and 105,335. And a flock of 52,000 in Big Stone County is the first infection reported in the far western Minnesota county.

Other previously confirmed sites include four in Kandiyohi County and single sites in Becker, Dodge, Lac qui Parle, LeSueur and Mower counties.

Most of the infections have been diagnosed in commercial turkey flocks — both meat turkeys and breeder hens. Two reports have been backyard poultry producers.

The Board of Animal Health web page on the avian flu response at bah.state.mn.us/hpai is updated each weekday.

Susan Lunneborg is the news editor of the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota. A journalist for more than 25 years, she has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Lunneborg can be reached at: slunneborg@wctib.com or 320-214-4343.
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