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Minnesota sets 1-month ban on poultry sales, exhibitions due to bird flu

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health issued the ban that applies to poultry community sales, swaps, fairs, exhibitions and other events where poultry and susceptible birds are brought together would begin April 1 and run through May 1.

Hen turkeys live their lives in a Minnesota production facility. Farmers who raise them are preparing for potential bird flu outbreaks in 2017. Minnesota Turkey Growers Association photo / Forum News Service
Hen turkeys live their lives in a Minnesota production facility.
Contributed / Minnesota Turkey Growers Association photo
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ST. PAUL — Minnesota Board of Animal Health officials on Thursday, March 31, announced a month-long ban on poultry sales and exhibitions after the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was detected in several poultry flocks in Minnesota and the region.

The board said the ban on poultry community sales, swaps, fairs, exhibitions and other events where poultry and susceptible birds are brought together would begin Friday, April 1, and run through May 1. The illness poses a high risk to poultry, the board said, but low risk to humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not reported a case of H5NI influenza in the United States.

“Viruses like HPAI need hosts to continue to spread,” state Veterinarian Beth Thompson said in a news release. “It’s our job to stop the spread of disease. Unfortunately, in this situation, we feel one of the best things we can do for the health of all birds in Minnesota is to take a pause on poultry events through May 1.”

State officials earlier this week announced that United States Department of Agriculture emergency responders were set to travel to Minnesota and aid in the state's surveillance and containment efforts after several flocks were reported to be positive for influenza.

State agriculture and animal health leaders said poultry flock owners should follow strict biosecurity protocols and report any suspicious symptoms in their birds to the board immediately. They also set up a designated hotline for anyone to report sick flocks or to ask questions at 1-833-454-0156.

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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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