For the second time in as many weeks, North Dakota agriculture officials are reporting a confirmed case of highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock. The virus has been detected in a commercial turkey flock of 69,000 in LaMoure County.

Image/Yinan Chen
Image/Yinan Chen

This follows the confirmation in a commercial turkey flock of 60,000 turkeys in Dickey County about two weeks ago.

The State Board of Animal Health and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture are working closely with USDA-APHIS and local officials in the LaMoure County response. The premises has been quarantined and the flock will be destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease. Domestic birds in a 6-mile control zone around the affected farm will be monitored and tested; and movement is being restricted to help prevent the spread of HPAI. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

There is no immediate public health concern due to this finding. The risk to people from HPAI is low despite the disease often being fatal for birds. No human infections with these viruses have been detected in the U.S.

“We have activated the avian influenza response plan that has been in place for some time,” said North Dakota State Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller. “It is a collaborative effort with help from federal and state agencies, local officials and poultry producers.”

The avian influenza response team is working around the clock to control the outbreak and serve as a resource to residents. In an emergency clause, the North Dakota legislature has allotted $300,000 of federal spending authority to respond to and combat avian influenza.

Due to the recent findings of HPAI in North Dakota and surrounding states, poultry owners should immediately report death loss to their local and state veterinarian, restrict access to their property, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and practice enhanced biosecurity.

Avian influenza exists in many wild birds and can be transmitted by contact with infected birds or ingestion of contaminated food and water.

As the number of HPAI cases continue to rise across the Midwest, scientists anticipate warmer temperatures will slow the spread of the disease. Typically, influenza viruses are hampered by warm, dry conditions.