H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in poultry flocks in Meeker and Mower Counties. 

Samples collected from both flocks were tested on March 25 at either the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (MPTL) or the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) and were confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. 

Poultry is safe to eat, and proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F is always advised. 

The Centers for Disease Control also recently announced this strain of avian influenza is a low risk to the public. 

No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

The infected flocks include:

  • A Meeker County commercial turkey flock (289,000 14-week-old toms) reported with mortality and signs of depression. Samples were collected and tested positive at the MPTL.
  • A Mower County backyard mixed flock of chickens, ducks and geese (17 birds) reported increased mortality. 

Board staff collected samples and submitted them to the VDL in St. Paul for testing. “These are the first cases of HPAI in the state of Minnesota since 2015,” said Dr. Dale Lauer, Poultry Program Director for the Board. 

“Poultry producers and backyard flock owners need to be on alert and contact their veterinarian immediately if they see any changes in their flocks. Everyone in poultry facilities needs to follow the site’s biosecurity protocols every time to prevent the spread of disease.” 

The sites are quarantined, and depopulation of birds on the premises is already underway. Poultry are depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease; poultry from the infected flock will not enter the food system.