Is the threat of a large-scale bird flu outbreak looming large over the United States? That is exactly what is on the minds of several people after it was revealed that several poultry farms across the country’s top turkey producing state of Minnesota have reported a rapid spread of avian influenza.
According to the Associated Press, government officials from Minnesota have confirmed that a highly contagious strain of bird flu — known as the H5N2 strain — is the one that has spread to one of the top turkey producing counties in the state of Minnesota. The report adds that three poultry farms in Minnesota have been affected by bird flu. Current estimates put the total number of birds affected by bird flu to be in the vicinity of 39,000 birds — and this is just from Stearns County of the state — known to be the second largest producer of Turkey in the U.S. The Inquisitr had earlier reported about several outbreaks of bird flu in the U.S. this year.
According to Bill Hartmann, the State Veterinarian of Minnesota, several turkeys in one of the four farms at Stearns County farm have already died of bird flu. As a precautionary measure, several farms have also started culling all birds that they deem to be affected by the bird flu virus, reports the Star Tribune. It is very likely that almost all of the 39,000 birds affected by bird flu would either die of the disease or would be killed.
With a crisis looming large over the state, Minnesota’s Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson said as follows.
“This is obviously a huge concern to the industry. We are very worried because of the increased turkey production in this specific area.”
Interestingly, this is the second instance of bird flu affecting large number of birds across Minnesota. Just a day ago, the bird flu virus had left a staggering 22,000 turkeys dead at another farm. The farm then had to kill another 44,000 turkeys to ensure that bird flu virus does not spread. That didn’t seem to have worked. That said, Bill Hartmann believes that the new outbreak of bird flu has nothing to do with the earlier outbreak.
Researchers are still unclear as to how the bird flu virus ended up in Minnesota and then subsequently reached the turkey farms. That said, the news about bird flu affecting several poultry farms across has resulted in several countries (nearly 40) banning the import of poultry from Minnesota.
Before you start worrying about the H5N2 bird flu virus, let us also inform you that the bird flu caused by this strain of virus is not deemed a great threat to the general public. And yes, chicken, too, are affected by this strain of bird flu.
[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]