Update on Avian Influenza

EOC News Release #4


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      CONTACT:

April 27, 2015                                                             Bruce Gordon 651-201-7171

Doug Neville 651-201-7562




ST PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security 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 USDA today confirmed the presence of H5N2 HPAI in four additional flocks. The following Minnesota counties were affected:

  • Chippewa – 1st detection in county (68,000 turkeys)
  • Kandiyohi – 11th*, 18th and 19th detections (42,900 turkeys and 67,000 turkeys)
  • Redwood – 4th detection (24,300 turkeys). The 3rd flock in Redwood County (11,100 turkeys) was identified as a dangerous contact and will be euthanized as a preventative measure.

*A delay in confirmatory testing resulted in late announcement of the 11th detection in Kandiyohi County.

Animal health officials are currently investigating possible additional cases of HPAI in Minnesota flocks. As flocks are confirmed by NVSL, the Board will provide information on its website at www.mnairesponse.info.

Current Situation

Total number of farms – 55

Total number of counties – 18

Farms by County/Number of Flocks

Chippewa: 1

Clay: 1

Cottonwood: 2
Kandiyohi: 19
Lac Qui Parle: 1
Le Sueur: 1

Lyon: 1
Meeker: 6
Nobles: 1
Otter Tail: 2
Pipestone: 1
Pope: 1
Redwood: 4
Roseau: 1
Stearns: 9
Swift: 2
Wadena: 1

Watonwan: 1

Total number of birds affected in Minnesota – 3,114,232

All affected farms remain under quarantine.

Visit the USDA’s website for information on all HPAI findings in the United States.



Current Incident Response Personnel

  • Minnesota Board of Animal Health and Department of Agriculture 85
  • S. Department of Agriculture 139
  • Total number of incident responders 224


To date, animal health officials have completed the following response zone activities:

  • Visited with individuals on over 11,000 premises to provide education and information on avian influenza
  • Conducted surveillance testing on 583 backyard flocks falling within the control areas of infected flocks
  • 49 flocks have either been depopulated or are in the process.


Water Delivery

  • Large amounts of water are needed in foaming systems being used as part of euthanasia efforts, which are in place to control further spread of avian influenza virus.
  • The Minnesota National Guard is delivering water for use in the disease containment effort. Forty-one soldiers and 15 water trucks are available to supply water. The Guard provided 16 thousand gallons of water in Kandiyohi County today. The Guard began its mission on Monday and will continue to provide support until civilian contractors become available. The soldiers and equipment are from the Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion and the Brooklyn Park-based A Company, 134th Brigade Support Battalion.
  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation supported foaming operations on Sunday. Three MnDOT tanker trucks, two 6,500 gallon trucks and one 4,500 gallon truck, moved water from Evansville to Paynesville. The trucks were from MnDOT facilities in Baxter, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities.

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 48 flocks.
  • MDH is currently monitoring 86 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 74 people associated with 17 flocks; no infections with this virus were detected.

No Positives Found in Wild Birds in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has collected more than 2,300 samples from wild waterfowl. Of those samples, nearly 1,000 test results have been received and none have tested positive for H5N2. The DNR’s goal is to collect and test 3,000 samples from affected areas.

Twenty-one wild bird carcasses of various species have been sampled. Of the eight test results received so far, none have tested positive for H5N2. The DNR is also testing hunter-harvested wild turkeys from Swift, Stearns, Pope, Meeker and Kandiyohi counties. Eighteen hunter-killed turkeys have been tested, but no results have been received yet. The goal is to collect 300 samples from hunter-killed turkeys by the end of the six-week wild turkey hunting season.

landing picture

Permit Requirements for Control Areas

All avian influenza (AI) permit requests and supporting documents should be submitted to mnairesponse@state.mn.us

Permits for movement in or out of AI control areas

A permit is required for each movement of birds, eggs or semen into or out of AI control zones. Permits are for movement from the origin premises – therefore, requests for permits should come from the origin premises. All requests should be submitted 24 – 48 hours prior to the desired movement.

Permit requirements for shipment of birds, semen or eggs from premises in AI Control Areas

  1. Testing. Two negative PCR tests (5 bird pooled samples for each barn) are required. Samples for the second test must be collected the day prior to the date of each shipment.  Test results must be verified before a permit is issued.
  2. Mortality logs. A mortality log of the previous 14 days for each barn on the site must be submitted the day prior to the date of each shipment.
  3. Biosecurity audits. A biosecurity audit must be submitted one time for each premises. Daily audits are no longer required.

Response Zones

When a Minnesota premises is identified with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), on-the-ground response efforts begin immediately. Animal health officials carry out a number of activities according to protocols established by the U. S. Department of Agriculture in order to manage the disease and reduce any potential risk of its spread. These activities take place not only on the affected premises, but also in two areas around the affected premises called the control area and surveillance zone.

Affected Site

Premises infected with HPAI are placed under quarantine, prohibiting the movement of poultry and poultry products on or off of the affected site. The USDA works with infected flock owners to develop a flock plan which includes appraisal and indemnity agreements for depopulation of poultry that remain on the premises. After depopulation of the flock, all turkey carcasses on the affected farms are composted inside of the barns. This process takes approximately one month to complete.

Control Area

The control area is a 10 km zone is established around infected flocks. Within this zone, officials work to identify all premises with commercial and backyard poultry. Backyard flocks are placed under quarantine and cannot move poultry or poultry products on or off of their premises. These flocks must complete two rounds of surveillance testing, all of which must be negative before quarantines can be lifted.

Commercial flocks inside of the control area undergo surveillance in accordance with U. S. Department of Agriculture protocols. All commercial poultry producers in the control area also comply with stringent biosecurity and permitting protocols in order to move poultry or poultry products off of their farms.

Surveillance Zone

The surveillance zone is a 10 km zone surrounding the control area. Animal health officials identify all premises within this zone that have commercial and backyard poultry to provide them with information on HPAI and advise them on biosecurity and close monitoring of their flocks.

Commercial poultry operations that fall within this area are currently testing their flocks for avian influenza every seven days in accordance with protocols established by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Affected Counties

April 27, 2015


Total # of Birds on Premises

(prior to death/euthanasia)

Type of Poultry

Pope 1 44,000 Commercial Turkey
Lac Qui Parle 1 66,000 Commercial Turkey
Stearns 1 39,000 Commercial Turkey
Nobles 21,000 Commercial Turkey
Stearns 2 71,000 Commercial Turkey
Stearns 3 76,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 1 26,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 2 30,000 Commercial Turkey
Meeker 1 310,000 Commercial Turkey
Cottonwood 1 48,000 Commercial Turkey
Lyon 1 66,000 Commercial Turkey
Watonwan 1 30,000 Commercial Turkey
Stearns 4 45,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 3 38,000 Commercial Turkey
Stearns 5 76,000 Commercial Turkey
Le Sueur 1 21,500 Commercial Turkey
Swift 1 160,000 Commercial Turkey
Swift 2 154,000 Commercial Turkey
Redwood 1 56,000 Commercial Turkey
Meeker 2 25,000 Commercial Turkey
Meeker 3 20,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 4 30,000 Commercial Turkey
Otter Tail 1 21,000 Commercial Turkey
Roseau 1 26,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 5 152,000 Commercial Turkey
Stearns 6 67,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 6 23,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 7* 9,000 Commercial Turkey
Wadena 1 301,000 Commercial Turkey
Cottonwood 2 30,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 8 61,000 Commercial Turkey
Otter Tail 2 34,500 Commercial Turkey
Redwood 2 35,500 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 9 75,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 12** 19,100 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 13 34,500 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 14 61,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 15 pending Commercial Turkey
Stearns 7 28,600 Commercial Turkey
Stearns 8 72,500 Commercial Turkey
Stearns 9 pending Commercial Turkey
Meeker 4 58,900 Commercial Turkey
Meeker 5 pending Commercial Turkey
Meeker 6 10,700 Commercial Turkey
Pipestone 1 150 Mixed Backyard
Kandiyohi 10 62,600 Commercial Turkey
Clay 1 265,382 Commercial Chicken
Kandiyohi 16 pending Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 17 pending Commercial Turkey
Chippewa 68,000 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 11 pending Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 18 42,900 Commercial Turkey
Kandiyohi 19 67,000 Commercial Turkey
Redwood 3* 11,100 Commercial Turkey
Redwood 4 24,300 Commercial Turkey

* Kandiyohi 7 was euthanized as a precaution because of its exposure to Kandiyohi 6.

* Redwood 3 was euthanized as a precaution because of its exposure to Redwood 4.

  • Total number of birds affected in Minnesota: 3,114,232 (not including pending flocks)
  • Total number of farms affected: 55
  • Total number of counties: 18

Animal Health officials are currently investigating possible additional cases of HPAI in Minnesota flocks. As flocks are confirmed by NVSL, they will be announced accordingly.


Protecting your birds from disease has always been important. However, taking biosecurity to the next level is now more crucial than ever. As we work together to eliminate HPAI and add strength to Minnesota’s poultry industry, there are small steps you can take that will have a big impact.

  1. Eliminate opportunities for your birds to interact with wild birds. We know that wild waterfowl are carriers of disease, including HPAI. The best way to avoid diseases that wildlife carry is to keep domestic animals separated from the wild.
  2. If you have birds at home, do not visit another farm, home or facility that also has birds. If you must visit another premises, be sure to shower and put on clean clothes and shoes beforehand.
  3. Remember that vehicles can be vehicles for disease transmission. Before you drive down the road, consider where you are going. Will you be heading to the fair, another farm or a live bird market? If the answer is yes, be sure your vehicle is clean and free of dirt, manure and other organic material.
  4. Early detection can help prevent the spread of disease. Knowing the signs to look for and monitoring the health of your birds on a regular basis is very important. Some signs to look for include nasal discharge, unusually quiet birds, decreased food and water consumption, drop in egg production, and increased/unusual death loss in your flock.
  5. Report sick and dead birds to state health officials immediately. If your birds appear sick or you have experienced increased mortality, fill out our online report form or immediately call 320-214-6700 Ext. 3804.

Testing and Reporting


Samples for official AI testing must be be collected by individuals trained and certified as authorized poultry testing agents. Once samples are collected, there are two diagnostic laboratories in Minnesota that are approved for testing samples for influenza. For detailed information on sample submission and testing for AI, contact:

Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory

Phone: (320) 231-5170


University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Phone: (800) 605-8787



As we work to contain and get rid of HPAI in Minnesota, it is extremely important that bird owners and poultry producers report sick or dead birds. Reports can be made in the following ways:

  • Call the reporting hotline at (320) 214-6700, ext. 3804
  • Fill out our online form
  • Contact your veterinarian or the Board of Animal Health

If you notice any of the following in your flock, a report should be made immediately:

  • Unusual or high death loss
  • Influenza-like signs such as nasal secretions, puffy eyes, ruffled feathers or a drop in egg production
  • Loss of appetite with decreased food and water consumption
  • Paralysis and other nervous signs
  • Lack of vocalization

Collaborative Effort

Even before HPAI was identified in Minnesota, we had a plan for how we would control and eliminate the disease if it ever came to our state. We are now putting this plan into action, but we are not doing it alone. Read about how our state and federal agencies are working alongside poultry producers to eliminate HPAI in Minnesota.

  • Minnesota Board of Animal Health – We are the lead response agency for on-the-ground operations and communications. Our team works closely with and under advisement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on defining disease control zones, testing and quarantine procedures and public release of information.
  • USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – USDA-APHIS are our federal partners in responding to HPAI.
  • Minnesota Department of Health – Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) primary role is to coordinate with animal health agencies, local public health, and industry to identify, protect, and monitor the health of poultry workers and others in direct contact with infected birds. MDH also serves as a source of information for the public on any human health risks.
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture -The Minnesota Department of Agriculture provides emergency response support to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health during animal disease outbreaks.Through the establishment of an Incident Command System (ICS), the agencies are able to share facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications to effectively and efficiently respond to a domestic incident under urgent conditions.
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works in concert with other state and federal agencies to coordinate wildlife surveillance educate stakeholders on disease issues and formulate and implement wildlife disease response plans.
  • University of Minnesota – The University of Minnesota provides university research to those in the poultry industry. They provide education materials and programs for the commercial poultry industry, niche producers, extension educators, youth, and consumers.
  • Poultry Industry – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota (CEAM) work closely with state and national agencies to coordinate the communication of the latest information to Minnesota’s poultry industry through a variety of methods. These organizations take the lead in providing education and outreach to their members on how farmers can keep their flocks safe from disease threats, while also working closely with University of Minnesota Extension to provide information to small flock and backyard flock owners. MTGA and CEAM communicate with other state poultry associations as needed, and serve as a resource for the media.

Disease Information

Influenza is a virus that can infect humans and many animal species, including poultry and other birds. Influenza is not uncommon and it has been around for centuries. Influenza in poultry is not a food safety issue.

Influenza in poultry falls into two groups: low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI), or highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Similar to influenza symptoms in people, birds infected with LPAI usually experience only mild signs if any, including respiratory signs such as conjunctivitis and nasal discharge, ruffled feathers or a drop in egg production. Unlike LPAI, the first indication of HPAI in poultry is sudden death, often without signs of illness. In the last 40 years, there have been introductions of LPAI in Minnesota poultry all of which have been successfully eliminated.

The Board continues to work together with Minnesota’s poultry industry and other state and federal agencies to prepare for and respond to introductions of influenza in poultry. The state’s voluntary cooperative control plan includes education, monitoring, reporting, and response. Testing for influenza in poultry is conducted at the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory in Willmar. Commercial and non-commercial poultry flocks are routinely monitored for influenza.

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