The Minnesota bird flu outbreak may affect the state for the next three years and could possibly spread to other parts of the nation. Until experts get to the root of the problem and detect how the flu is being spread only can it be stopped and eradicated, Dr. Carol Cardona, an avian health expert at the University of Minnesota, told a joint meeting of the House agriculture committees on Thursday. At the present situation, even slowing down the virus remains a challenge.
Minnesota bird flu outbreak
Despite the possibility that the Minnesota bird flu outbreak can stay for the next three years, officials clarified that the outbreak is not a food safety issue. The turkey produce from Minnesota is safe to eat, according to Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.
Ducks, geese and other poultry birds are already being tested by the Minnesota Board of Health’s state veterinarian, Dr. Bill Hartmann said. Dozens of workers who have come in contact with the affected birds are also being monitored for 10 days after their last interaction with the flocks.
“The good news is that nobody has gotten sick yet,” Hartmann confirmed.
Officials confirmed two cases of H5N2 virus in Wisconsin
Two Wisconsin poultry flocks are already affected, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection confirmed on Thursday. The department is already working in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture to respond to the problem.
The affected flocks are found in:
– Juneau County—40 mixed breed birds in a backyard flock
– Barron County—126,000 turkeys in a commercial turkey flock
According to officials, the properties were immediately quarantined and the remaining flock will be depopulated. Rest assured, though, that the affected produce will not enter the food supply, according to the officials.
According to information released by the department of agriculture, the H5 avian influenza virus was first detected in Wisconsin at a commercial chicken flock in Jefferson County on Monday, April 13. More than 180,000 egg-laying chickens will be depopulated as a result.
Spreading to the East Coast
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief veterinary officer, Dr. John Clifford, said that the H5N2 virus appeared to have already spread in southern Ontario. He said this is an alarming sign that the outbreak may spread to the East Coast.
“If it sticks around and continues it’s going to be very devastating to our poultry industry and our international markets, trade markets, as well as the loss domestically. That’s why we have to really use this time appropriately to do all that we can to determine how best we can address and prevent introductions in the future,” Clifford told The Associated Press.
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