Minnesota Secures USDA Emergency Response Team

Minnesota Secures USDA Emergency Response Team to Support the State’s Response to Avian Influenza

ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) Governor Tim Walz announced the activation of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) emergency response team in Minnesota to support the state’s disease control and containment efforts of H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), which poses a low risk to humans but is currently confirmed in three poultry flocks in Minnesota.

The USDA emergency team will support the state’s Agricultural Incident Management Team—a team of experts from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, based in in Kandiyohi County.  The team will work alongside animal health officials and producers to respond to the incident, including quarantining the infected flocks, supporting infected-site response activities, engaging in disease surveillance, and coordinating state and federal logistics and finances.  The USDA team will arrive on Wednesday and will be deployed for at least three weeks.

“Armed with years of preparation for this incident, our state’s Agricultural Incident Management Team is working quickly and decisively to respond to the cases of H5N1 in Minnesota,” said Governor Walz.  “Within hours of the first confirmed cases, our Board of Animal Health requested emergency support from the USDA.  These federal partners will bring targeted expertise to contain this virus and ensure that our state’s poultry industry remains the strongest in the nation.”

Minnesota is ranked first in the nation in turkey production, with more than 660 turkey farms that raise about 40 million birds annually.  Turkey production generates $774 million in cash receipts annually, and in 2020, Minnesota exported about 15% of its production, worth approximately $114 million.

H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in poultry flocks in Meeker, Mower, and Stearns counties.  More information on the confirmed cases, including information and resources for farmers and flock owners, can be found on the Board of Animal Health’s response website.

Poultry is safe to eat, and proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ?F is always advised.  The Centers for Disease Control also recently announced this strain of avian influenza is a low risk to the public . No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.