Highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in a commercial turkey flock in Beadle County, South Dakota, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reports.
This marks the first case of AI in this US state. Meanwhile four cases have now been reported in the neighbouring state of Minnesota.
The flock of 53,000 turkeys is located within the Central flyway, where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified and is highly similar to the other H5 HPAI viruses detected this year. Samples from the turkey flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the South Dakota State University Animal Disease Research & Diagnostic Laboratory. The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the findings.
APHIS is working closely with the South Dakota Animal Industry Board on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease and birds from the flock will not enter the food system.
Last week a wild Canada goose tested positive for the virus in Wyoming, also along the Central flyway, and in mid-March a backyard flock of chickens and ducks in Kansas tested positive for H5N2, marking the first incursion of the Eurasian-lineage virus into the flyway.
Other H5N2 outbreaks occurred last month on turkey farms in Minnesota, Missouri, and Arkansas, which are along the Mississippi flyway. These were preceded by a number of H5N2 findings beginning in December in wild birds and backyard poultry flocks in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.