Bird Flu Hits Close To Iowa

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It's been in Canada and the West coast, but now the bird flu virus is hitting close to home. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed its presence in Pope County, Minnesota. That's less than two hundred miles from the Iowa border.

Minnesota State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartman says the confirmed H5N2 avian influenza virus is the same strain found in Oregon, California, and Washington but this is the first finding in the Mississippi flyway.

Hartman says nearly 15 thousand turkeys have died at the farm and the rest will be depopulated to prevent the disease, but the good news is it hasn't spread yet.

He says, "They have quarantined the farm where the infected turkeys are. They're doing an epidemiological investigation to find out where the virus came and is there any potential for it having spread. And what we're required to do is draw a 10 kilometer circle around the infected premises and then and then quarantine and test all of those farms within a control zone."

Some countries, like China, have already put in place a ban on U.S. poultry following the West coast infections. According to the Minnesota Ag Commissioner, Dave Fredrickson, the infection could lead to more export bans.

Minnesota is the number one turkey producer and processor in the country. Fredrickson says that affects $92 million in exports or about 8.2 percent the value of production.