On Thursday April 23rd the governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, issued an emergency order declaring a peacetime ‘State of Emergency’ in an effort to combat the H5N2 avian influenza (AI) outbreaks.
The H5N2 AI strain has been identified on 46 farms in the state. Minnesota is the US’s largest turkey producer – raising 46 million birds per year. This outbreak has killed over 2.5 million turkeys in the state so far. Also just this week the virus hit a chicken farm in the state.
“This is a moving target, and the number of farms affected has continued to increase,” Dayton said. “We don’t know what the ceiling will be.”
Following a recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State health officials said they were accelerating prescriptions for the antiviral drug Tamiflu for farm workers and others who have been in direct contact with infected flocks. However, no human infections have been reported in this outbreak.
Also state officials are emphasising the point that this is not a health risk for consumers. Dave Frederickson, commissioner of the Department of Agriculture. “The poultry on grocery store shelves is safe and will continue to be safe.”
All in all this outbreak has caused the deaths of 7.3 million birds nationwide – appearing in 16 states. Most recently striking a 3.8 million hen farm in northern Iowa – the largest single outbreak nationwide. It also two more egg-laying operations in Wisconsin, which has also declared a state of emergency.