The last of the quarantines placed on 108 Minnesota farms infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) this year have officially been lifted by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. All sites have completed the cleaning and disinfection process for their facilities, and environmental samples taken in and around the infected barns have all received negative influenza test results.
Only a few sites had remained under quarantine this long, as ninety percent of the previously infected sites were cleared to restock as of October 6, 2015. The few sites that remained under quarantine have also completed the steps required to gain clearance for restocking their barns with poultry. Restocked poultry on all the affected farms have tested negative for influenza, which provides additional assurance that the HPAI virus has been eradicated from Minnesota.
“Minnesota poultry growers have worked tirelessly alongside animal health officials to eliminate this disease from our state” said Dr. Bill Hartmann, State Veterinarian and Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. “Completing disease response and recovery efforts could not have happened without the collaboration of state and federal agencies and Minnesota’s strong poultry industry.”
The first case of HPAI in Minnesota was announced on March 5, 2015. Throughout the outbreak, poultry on 108 farms spanning 23 counties were infected with HPAI in Minnesota. Over nine million birds were depopulated or died due to the virus, including commercial turkeys, commercial layers and one backyard flock. The last case of HPAI in Minnesota was confirmed on June 5, 2015.
“While seeing no new cases of HPAI is encouraging, we know that detecting future cases remains a possibility,” said Dr. Hartmann.
Though HPAI is not currently circulating in Minnesota’s domestic bird population, the Board of Animal Health is continuing to stay prepared for the potential of future cases of the disease. The Board is continuing to collaborate with government and industry partners to enhance response plans, as well as working to strengthen surveillance and biosecurity efforts that aid in preventing farm to farm spread of the disease.
The formal announcement from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health can be found here
Additional information on Minnesota’s response and recovery from HPAI can be found here.