An outbreak of a bird flu strain that’s deadly to poultry deepened Saturday when state and federal officials confirmed a third Minnesota turkey farm has been infected, this time in one of the state’s top poultry-producing counties.
The federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said a commercial flock of 39,000 turkeys in Stearns County of central Minnesota has been infected with the highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of avian influenza, which also killed tens of thousands of turkeys at two other farms in Pope and Lac qui Parle counties of western Minnesota.
Saturday’s announcement came one day after officials announced the outbreak at the Lac qui Parle County farm, where the virus quickly killed 22,000 of the 12-week-old turkeys in one barn. That farm must kill 44,000 birds in two other barns as a precaution to prevent the disease from spreading.
The confirmation at the Pope County farm on March 5 marked the first detection of H5N2 in the Mississippi Flyway, a major bird migration route. H5N2 was also found within the next several days in commercial and backyard flocks in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas.
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