More than a million birds have avian flu in Minnesota

Published 8:22 am Thursday, April 7, 2022

ST. PAUL — Minnesota animal health officials say more than a million birds across the state have now been infected with bird flu.

The latest cases reported Wednesday include two commercial poultry flocks in Morrison County and one each in Big Stone, Meeker, Stearns and Waseca counties.

Avian flu has now been found in 21 poultry flocks across 11 Minnesota counties. They include four commercial flocks in Kandiyohi and Morrison counties, three in Stearns County, two in Meeker County and one each in Becker, Big Stone, Dodge, Lac qui Parle, Le Sueur and Waseca counties, as well as backyard flocks in Mower and Stearns counties.

The state Board of Animal Health says most of the affected operations are commercial turkey flocks. The birds are euthanized to keep the virus from spreading.

Minnesota’s turkey industry includes nearly 700 farms that raise about 40 million birds a year. Nine million birds were euthanized during an outbreak of avian flu in Minnesota in 2015.

The first of the state’s cases in this latest outbreak was confirmed on March 25. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the latest strain of avian influenza is a low risk to the public.