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Avian influenza claims 7th county turkey farm-May 12

Lead Summary

While the pace of the spread of avian influenza seems to be slowing, it is now striking closer to home. The last two farms reported infected with the deadly virus have both been in Swift County.
They bring the number of infected facilities in the county to seven, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.
In all, 85 farms have now been hit by the avian influenza in the state with nearly 5.7 million turkeys now dead from the disease or euthanized because they were in barns that had been infected.
The number of turkeys lost at Swift County farms six and seven were still pending as of Tuesday morning.
The virus has also struck three Minnesota chicken farms killing 1.57 million layers. In Iowa, more than 25 million layer chickens are dead. That represents more than 40 percent of Iowa’s egg laying chicken population. There is already talk of a potential short-term egg shortage based on the losses in the two states.
The first farm to be infected with the avian influenza virus in the state was in Pope County March 5. It took 23 days before a barn in Lac qui Parle reported it had been hit by the disease March 28. By April 11, 14 barns had been infected.
But then the disease’s spread took off. Between April 14 and May 11, 74 more barns reported they had been hit by the avian influenza virus.
May 6 was Minnesota’s first day since mid-April with no new reports of outbreaks of avian influenza. However, the following day the sixth Swift County barn infected and the 32nd Kandiyohi County barn. Then Monday brought the single report of Swift County’s seventh infection.
State Veterinarian Bill Hartmann said the pause in infections May 6 was a sign of progress but acknowledged it’s “too soon to say” whether it marks the start of a trend. Experts say warm, dry sunny weather should kill off the H5N2 virus, at least for the season.
“We’re hopeful that this weather will change the outlook for us,” Hartmann said.
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Photo:  The list of infected turkey barns is growing and includes many counties in our area.

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