USDA tracks AI spread

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – A second commercial turkey farm in Stearns County, Minn., has confirmed cases of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture reported.

This is the fifth confirmation of H5N2 in a commercial turkey flock in the state. Outbreaks previously have been confirmed in Stearns County, Nobles County, Pope County and Lac Qui Parle County. Stearns County is one of Minnesota's largest poultry-producing locations.

In the most recent case, APHIS said the flock of 71,000 turkeys is located within the Mississippi flyway where animal health officials previously identified the H5N2 virus. Officials with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health quarantined the birds, which will be culled to prevent spread of the disease.

Most recently, APHIS confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in a Beadle County, SD, commercial turkey flock of 53,000 birds. The flock is located in the Central Flyway where a similar H5 virus was detected this year, APHIS reported. States in the Central Flyway include Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

H5N2 also was confirmed in a backyard poultry flock in Judith Basin County, Mont.
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