Major Bird Flu Outbreak Hits Minnesota


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Officials announced Minnesota’s first major outbreak of bird flu in 2023 on Wednesday.

A flock of 140,000 turkeys were killed at a Meeker County farm, state officials said Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune. The cull was commenced to mitigate the further spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which has seen a terrifying level of spread around the globe in the last few years.

Some 58 million birds were killed in 2022 thanks to ongoing outbreaks of the virus, the outlet continued. “Unfortunately, HPAI seems to keep popping up during the seasonal migrations in Minnesota,” state veterinarian Dr. Brian Hoefs said of the most recent outbreak, the largest to hit the state all year.

Minnesota is the leading producer of turkeys. So if you want one on your Thanksgiving dinner table, I’d buy it now. I dread to think how high prices are going to keep climbing if these outbreaks keep happening.

There are at least 18 known subtypes of the influenza viruses, and many are spreading out of control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In April, the World Health Organization announced at least one person died after contracting H3N8 in China. (RELATED: ‘It’s Just A Matter Of Time’: Scientists Issue Warning As Deadly, Ebola-Like Virus Spreads)

A study published back in May found that the H5N1 variant has undergone a “rapid evolution” since first being identified in 1996. Multiple international agencies issued a warning in July about how quickly H5N1 is spreading, and that it could be a risk to humans if it carries on as is.