Sixty-eight Minnesota sites reporting bird flu infections

(KNSI) – The Animal Health Council of Minnesota said there are now 68 sites in Minnesota reporting highly pathogenic avian influenza infections.

The council says 2.72 million birds have been affected in 22 counties.

There are 35 sites in Benton, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison and Stearns counties affecting backyard flocks and commercial meat, livestock and egg operations. When a bird flu infection has been identified, the flock is depopulated to prevent sick animals from entering the food supply. There is a low risk of humans contracting avian influenza. Experts say poultry and poultry products are safe to eat.

It’s not just commercial and backyard flocks that are affected. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said it coordinates with the US Department of Agriculture’s Plant and Animal Health Inspection Service to conduct HPAI surveillance in wild birds. Officials with the University of Minnesota Raptor Center say there have been more than five dozen confirmed cases among raptors. This included horned owls, a barred owl, bald eagles and a red-headed vulture. All but one with a positive test died or were shot. Songbirds, crows and geese are also sick.

The latest outbreak was first discovered in Minnesota on March 25.

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