During a routine test, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health recently identified H5N2 low-pathogenic avian influenza in a Stearns County turkey flock.
This finding was part of the everyday process of ensuring a safe food supply and protecting Minnesota’s poultry industry from the spread of influenza. All flocks are tested for influenza before they are moved to market.
The flock of 13-week-old hens has been quarantined, and will be tested and monitored until MBAH determines the flock is virus-negative, and the turkeys can be marketed.
This is not the same strain of virus that affected Minnesota and other states in 2015. This strain of influenza in poultry does not pose a public health risk or food safety concern.
“The board conducts routine influenza surveillance of poultry flocks in Minnesota, and this early detection is an example of how our system is designed to monitor for disease and respond quickly,” said Dale Lauer, director of the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory and assistant MBAH director, in a news release. “Much like the recent case in Kandiyohi County, the board, in cooperation with Minnesota’s poultry industry, is going to increase surveillance at poultry farms within 10 km of this site, and at any other sites linked with common equipment or personnel connections. This is part of the response — to look for any additional cases, wherever they may be.”
Biosecurity is the key defense for commercial poultry flocks and is part of the reason why cases have not happened in more flocks. Biosecurity is the way flocks are managed and includes various practices put in place to isolate flocks from outside sources of infection. Biosecurity is very important for commercial poultry flocks, to protect them and to prevent the spread of any disease.
Backyard flock owners should practice strict biosecurity, including preventing birds from exposure and/or commingling with wild birds and other types of poultry.
The board has a general biosesecurity steps flyer for producers available online.
For more than 40 years, commercial poultry flocks in Minnesota have been routinely tested for avian influenza prior to marketing.
Avian influenza is not a food safety issue. The turkeys in this flock will be allowed to move to market with MBAH approval once they have recovered from this infection and test virus-negative for the disease.
Turkey producers and farmers who have questions should contact the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory at 320-231-5170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.