It is beginning to feel a lot like the 2015 outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that killed over 9 million turkeys in Minnesota and 50 million in the United States. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) has issued a statewide 31 day ban on all poultry sales and exhibitions due to highly pathogenic avian influenza. The ban goes into affect today through May 1, 2022.

HPAI has been confirmed in 5 Minnesota counties and surrounding states.  "The ban includes all poultry community sales, swaps, fairs, exhibitions and other events where poultry and susceptible birds are brought together. The current H5N1 HPAI outbreak in Minnesota poses a high risk to poultry but low risk to the public and there is no food safety concern for consumers."

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HPAI can be spread in a number of ways, but a major one  is by wild birds and migrating waterfowl. They are carriers and typically do not die from the disease. However, at this time 18 states have reported wild birds or waterfowl have been found dead and tested positive for the disease. Farmers that raise turkeys and chickens in barns greatly enhanced their biosecurity measures after the 2015 outbreak and likely enhanced them even more this spring.

This is the time of year when many people are making plans for their backyard small flocks. Many of those are raised "free range" which makes interaction with wild birds and migrating waterfowl likely. There are some things that can be done to decrease the risk of their flock contracting HPAI. Click on the link and listen to Abby Schuft, MS PhD. Candidate with the University of Minnesota Extension Service discuss HPAI, what small flock owners and commercial producers can do to protect their birds. Thanks to Extension Educator in Rice and Steele County Claire LaCanne for setting up the interview for me with Abby!

KEEP READING: What Minnesota Animals Can Humans Outrun?

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