H5N2 spreads to Minnesota

by Erica Shaffer
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POPE COUNTY, Minn. – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the presence of H5N2 virus in a commercial turkey flock in Pope County, Minn. It is the first confirmed finding in the Mississippi flyway.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of USDA and the Univ. of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory tested samples from a turkey breeder replacement flock. State officials quarantined the premises with plans to cull the birds.

USDA has identified two mixed-origin viruses in the Pacific Flyway — H5N2 and a new H5N1 virus — since the outbreak of highly pathogenic H5 viruses began late in 2014. The agency noted that highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza can travel in wild birds without the birds appearing sick. However, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people to be low.

“The Minnesota Department of Health is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure they are taking the proper precautions,” APHIS said in a statement. In addition, the agency is advising people to avoid contact with sick or dead poultry or wildlife.
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