Turkey herds in the Midwest are bearing the brunt of increasing bird flu outbreaks


Federal and state animal health officials reported more than 30 new highly pathogenic bird flu outbreaks, mostly in Midwestern states and including several on commercial farms in Minnesota, the nation’s top turkey producer.

The events are part of ongoing activities related to the Eurasian strain of H5N1, which has an international distribution and has infested poultry in 25 states, resulting in the loss of approximately 23.7 million birds.

Outbreaks are spreading across Midwestern states

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) reported 6 more outbreaks, mostly on turkey farms, bringing the state’s total to 21. Officials reported outbreaks in two more counties — Big Stone and Waseca — bringing the number of affected counties to nine increased.

As the nation’s leading turkey state, farmers in Minnesota produce 18% of the nation’s turkey supply. The MBAH put the poultry losses at around 1.02 million birds so far.

In Minnesota’s neighboring state to the south, the state that produces the most eggs, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship reported another outbreak, this time at a commercial turkey farm in Hardin County, about 80 miles northwest of Des Moines. So far, Iowa has reported 16 outbreaks, mostly affecting layer and turkey farms.

Meanwhile, other Midwestern states reported more outbreaks, including Missouri with two more, bringing the total to nine, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. The latest events occurred at two turkey farms, one in Lawrence County, west of Springfield in the southwestern state, and one in neighboring Dade County.

In Nebraska, the virus emerged in a backyard flock of 33 birds in western Scotts Bluff County, marking the state’s fifth outbreak.

North Dakota reported two more outbreaks, one at a turkey farm in LaMoure County in the southwest and the other at a backyard flock in Cass County, which surrounds Fargo. The state has now reported six outbreaks, according to the latest update from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

South Dakota confirmed 5 more outbreaks, bringing the total to 31. All turkey farms involved, with events spanning five counties: Beadle, Clark, Faulk, McPherson and Spink.

East and West states add up to the totals

Three East Coast states reported additional outbreaks in poultry, including Maine and New York, which each reported another outbreak in backyard flocks. Maine’s eruption was in Waldo County on the Atlantic Seaboard. And the New York outbreak hit birds in Orleans County, west of Rochester.

In North Carolina, the virus hit a turkey farm in Wayne County in the east-central part of the state, marking the state’s fifth outbreak.

In the western states, Wyoming reported its fourth outbreak. All have involved backyard herds. The most recent event occurred in Sheridan County, which includes Sheridan, an area that borders Montana.


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