Via the West Central Tribune: Deadly bird flu strain makes its first strike in Minnesota. Excerpt:
State health officials say a strain of bird flu that’s deadly to poultry has been discovered in Minnesota, after the population of a commercial turkey barn was decimated in a matter of days — from a flock of 15,000 to fewer than 100.
Health officials said Thursday that the risk to the general public from the virus — known as H5N2 avian influenza — was “very low,” though there was some occupational risk to workers handling the turkey flock in west-central Minnesota.
The four workers who worked at the Pope County farm — which was not identified — were being monitored. However, no human infections from this strain of bird flu have been detected anywhere.
Health officials said there were four barns on the property — two for raising turkeys and two for laying eggs — and only one of the poultry raising barns experienced the severe “death loss.”
Officials quarantined the farm and said the remaining turkeys would be killed to prevent the disease’s spread. No birds ever went outside the barns.
Still, state and federal officials plan to scour the area around the farm for the presence of infected birds, though the likelihood of finding any is considered slim because of the frigid conditions.
Mike Coston at Avian Flu Diary has an extensive post on this development, which is, as he says, an ominous one for the poultry industry.