Avian flu strikes more flocks in Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa

Layer hens

Steve Harwood/ Flickr cc

Nebraska authorities reported the state's fourth avian flu outbreak, while Minnesota announced additional detections at turkey farms in three different counties and Iowa revealed another outbreak at an egg farm.

Nationally, as of May 26 the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has received reports of 181 highly pathogenic avian influenza detections in the United States since December 19. So far the outbreaks have affected more than 41 million birds. The USDA's update, posted by its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), doesn't appear to include today's outbreaks.

Fourth Nebraska detection

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) said today that early tests show the highly pathogenic H5N2 virus as responsible for an outbreak at a poultry farm housing 3 million hens in Knox County, located in the northeastern part of the state.

Tests are under way to confirm the findings, and a response team is already in Knox County to address the outbreak.

According to an NDA press release, the Knox County farm is owned by an operator who has the three facilities involved in Nebraska's earlier three outbreaks, all in neighboring Dixon County, about 50 miles away.

Greg Ibach, Nebraska's agriculture director, said in the statement that it is crucial for all Nebraska poultry operators to maintain strict biosecurity measures. "That means strictly limiting the traffic, both humans and vehicles, into and out of facilities in an effort to avoid any cross-contamination."

So far the outbreaks have claimed 7 million birds, mainly laying hens and pullets.

More Minnesota flocks affected

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) today said that three more turkey flocks, located in Brown, Meeker, and Kandiyohi countries, are presumed to be positive for avian flu.

The outbreak in Brown County, in the southwestern part of the state, is that county's second detection and its second in as many days. Meeker County's latest outbreak represents its 10th avian influenza detection, and Kandiyohi—Minnesota's hardest hit county—has now reported 37 outbreaks.

The DPS statement didn't note the flock sizes for the three new outbreaks, but a state official has said more information should be coming soon.

According to Minnesota's latest update, the outbreaks have now hit 97 farms in 22 of the state's 87 counties. Birds on 87 of the farms have been culled, and the disposal process has been completed at 23 facilities.

Another Iowa outbreak

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) today reported a probable H5 outbreak at a farm in Wright County, which has reported three earlier outbreaks. Wright County is located in central Iowa.

The event involves a commercial laying operation housing an estimated 1 million birds. Increased mortality triggered testing for the virus. Confirmation tests are ongoing at the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

The latest announcement pushes Iowa's total to 67 outbreaks.

See also:

May 27 NDA press release

May 27 DPS press release

May 27 IDALS press release

Latest USDA avian flu numbers

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