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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Bruce Gordon  651-201-7171
Doug Neville   651-201-7562
April 30, 2015
Daily Update on Avian Influenza - April 30

​ST PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management  Division (HSEM) activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to coordinate the state’s ongoing response to avian influenza. HSEM will coordinate resource needs with several state agencies including the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Additional HPAI cases in Minnesota
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health today announced three presumptive positive flocks. The following Minnesota counties are affected:

  • Otter Tail – 3rd detection (turkeys, flock size pending)
  • Stearns – 13th (14,800 turkeys) and 14th detections (20,500 turkeys)
Current Situation
Total number of farms – 70
Total number of counties – 19
Farms by County/Number of Flocks
​Chippewa: 1 ​Meeker: 7 Roseau: 1
Clay: 1 Nobles: 1 ​ Stearns: 14
Cottonwood: 2​ Otter Tail: 3 Steele: 1
Kandiyohi: 25 Pipestone: 1 Swift: 3
​Lac Qui Parle: 1​ Pope: 1 Wadena: 1
​Le Sueur: 1 ​Redwood: 4 Watonwan: 1 ​​
​Lyon: 1
Total number of birds affected in Minnesota – 3,938,432 (not including pending flocks)
All affected farms remain under quarantine.
Visit the USDA's website for information on all HPAI findings in the United States.
Identification and Announcement of HPAI Cases in Minnesota
There are several steps involved in confirming that a poultry flock is positive for a highly-pathogenic strain of avian influenza. Here is an outline of that process which includes timing of public notification:

1. A poultry producer or backyard flock owner notices unusual death loss or other signs of illness in his/her birds.
2. The individual notifies their veterinarian or an animal health official.
3. Samples are collected from the birds on the premises.
4. Samples are submitted to an approved state laboratory for preliminary testing.
5. State laboratories are able to determine if the samples are positive for an H5 or H7 influenza virus. If samples are positive for an H5 or H7 virus, they are considered as presumptive positives and are forwarded to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.
6. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health will include information on presumptive positive flocks on its website. These cases will also be shared through the State Emergency Operations Center Daily Updates on Avian Influenza.
7. NVSL is the only laboratory in the United States that is authorized to officially confirm the presence of a HPAI and identify the specific strain of virus. When NVSL confirms HPAI, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shares that information with the public by posting online.
To date, animal health officials have completed the following response zone activities:
  • Appraisals have been completed for 65 of the affected premises.
  • Birds on 62 of the affected farms have been euthanized.
  • The composting process is underway on 56 of the affected farms. Animal health officials are working with producers to begin composting on others.
  • Sampled 595 backyard flocks falling within the control areas of affected farms.
  • The affected farm in Pope County (1st detection in Minnesota) is done with composting and is working on cleaning and disinfection of the barns.
Help to Protect Minnesota Farms
Poultry producers are working hard to enhance existing biosecurity measures on their farms. You can aid in this effort! Please respect disease control efforts and do not visit a farm without prior authorization. By continuing to work together, Minnesota can regain a disease-free status.
Hawk from Yellow Medicine County tests positive for HPAI virus
A Cooper’s hawk from Yellow Medicine County is the first Minnesota wild bird to test positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus that has infected poultry farms across Minnesota. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) collected the hawk during the agency’s current HPAI surveillance of wild birds.
More information.
No Public Health Risk
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports that no human infections with this strain of the virus (H5N2) have been detected in Minnesota or elsewhere in the U.S. However, in some cases certain HPAI H5 viruses can infect people and it is important to prevent infections.
In general, avian influenza viruses are spread to people through direct contact with infected birds or their environments, including contaminated bedding, feed or water. Person-to-person spread of avian influenza viruses is rare and limited.
This is not a public health risk or a food safety risk. The potential risk is for those who have direct contact with infected birds.
Poultry Workers
MDH is monitoring the health of workers, who have had contact with infected poultry, and providing guidance on infection control, the use of personal protective equipment, and providing support for any other health-related aspects of response.
  • People who had close, unprotected contact with infected flocks are recommended to receive an antiviral drug called Tamiflu. MDH does not issue the drug directly. Rather, MDH facilitates getting the prescription for the workers by working with the company occupational health departments or the health care providers for those individuals.
  • Workers are then contacted daily for 10 days and monitored for development of respiratory symptoms.
  • As of today, MDH has completed follow-up contacts for 54 flocks.
  • MDH is currently monitoring 81 poultry personnel for potential symptoms of infection, such as development of an eye infection or respiratory symptoms.
  • The MDH 10-day monitoring period has been completed for 94 people associated with 27 flocks; no infections with this virus were detected.
Producers affected by H5N2 get more time to file and pay their taxes
Poultry producers in Minnesota whose farms or flocks are affected by the H5N2 avian influenza will get help if the outbreak prevented them from filing their returns or paying their taxes on time. The Minnesota Department of Revenue will forgive penalties and interest for poultry producers in the affected counties who have Minnesota tax returns or payments due between April 23 and May 27, 2015, in line with the original emergency executive order and 30 day extension. More information.
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov