The bird flu has surfaced at 11 more Minnesota turkey farms, bringing to 67 the number of state poultry flocks afflicted by the virus, state regulators said Wednesday.
The H5N2 bird flu was confirmed at eight turkey farms in the state by the United States Department of Agriculture. The Minnesota Department of Animal Health reported “presumptive” flu findings in three more turkey flocks.
Of the 11 new cases, six are in Kandiyohi County, bringing the total number there to 25, the most of any county. Kandiyohi is the state’s largest turkey producing county, and Minnesota is the nation’s largest turkey state, churning out about 46 million birds a year.
At least 3.46 million birds have been affected by the flu, not including turkeys involved in many of the outbreaks reported Wednesday. Birds on infected farms that aren’t killed outright by the flu are euthanized as a precaution.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota National Guard completed its water delivery mission, part of the turkey disposal job. Private contractors are now in place to provide water for euthanization programs on affected farms. The water is for the foam sprayed on turkeys to suffocate them.
The National Guard got involved after Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency last week because of the bird flu.
The virus has surfaced in at least a dozen states, but has hit the Upper Midwest particularly hard. It poses no food safety hazard and a low risk to human health, health experts say. No person has gotten sick from the H5N2 virus in the United States.