Bird Flu Hits Two More Minnesota Turkey Farms

Bird Flu Hits Two More Minnesota Turkey Farms

By Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune 

Two more turkey farms--including another in Stearns County--have been hit by bird flu, bringing to seven the number of Minnesota farms afflicted by the virus, state animal health officials announced Monday

The highly lethal H5N2 bird flu has struck a commercial flock of 76,000 turkeys in Stearns County, the third outbreak in that county since the virus landed in Minnesota in early March. Minnesota is the nation's largest turkey producer, and Stearns is one of its biggest turkey-producing counties.

Kandiyohi County is also a turkey hub, and it's the site of the other outbreak announced Monday. The flu was found in a flock of 26,000 turkeys at a breeding farm. The state's animal health board said state law doesn't allow the release of exact farm names or locations.

The bird flu is believed to be spread by wild birds who carry the virus but don't get sick from it. Since the outbreaks began in Minnesota, over 340,000 turkeys have been affected. Those that don't die of the flu are killed as a precaution against its spread. The state produces about 46 million turkeys annually.

The federal Centers for Disease Control considers the risk to people from the bird flu to be low. Also, food safety is not affected by the flu, health officials say.

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