WASHINGTON – The count of Minnesota counties affected by highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza continues to climb following confirmation of the virus in Meeker County.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture reported a commercial turkey flock of 310,000 turkeys is the ninth flock to be hit with the virus. APHIS confirmed the presence of H5N2 in Kandiyohi County on April 7. In that case, a commercial turkey flock of 30,000 birds was culled.

The latest case brings the number of counties affected by H5N2 to six. Stearns County, Nobles County, Pope County, Kandiyohi County and Lac Qui Parle County also had confirmed cases of the deadly virus. Stearns County leads the state in poultry production.