USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Stearns County, Minnesota—making it the third commercial flock in the state to test positive.
The flock of 39,000 turkeys is located in the Mississippi flyway where the virus strain has been identified.
Minnesota is one of the top turkey producing states in the US with Stearns county the No. 2 turkey producing county, according to the Associated Press. Birds from the affected flocks will not enter the foods system and CDC considers the overall risk to humans to be low.
APHIS is working closely with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. This flock is one of many in recent months that have tested positive for the virus.
According to APHIS, the HPAI H5N8 virus originated in Asia and spread rapidly along wild bird migratory pathways during 2014, including the Pacific flyway. Here the virus mixed with North American avian influenza viruses, creating new mixed-origin viruses which is highly pathogenic to poultry.
USDA has identified two mixed-origin viruses in the Pacific Flyway: the HPAI H5N2 virus and new HPAI H5N1 virus. Only the HPAI H5N2 virus has been detected in the Pacific, Mississippi and Central Flyways.