Minnesota poultry ban lifted

Friday, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) released its temporary poultry ban.

First enacted in April, state officials extended the ban — which only affected events where birds congregate — twice amid the outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1.

“We feel HPAI cases have slowed enough to allow poultry events to resume in Minnesota,” BAH Interim State Veterinarian Linda Glaser said in a statement. “We appreciate the patience and cooperation from everyone affected as we temporarily restricted these events to address the HPAI outbreak in our state.”

The first H5N1 cases in the U.S. were confirmed in Indiana on Feb. 8, and the first cases in Minnesota were confirmed on March 25. By the end of April, the virus had infected around 2.8 million birds in Minnesota.

However, BAH says the numbers have plateaued, with no new HPAI detections in Minnesota’s domestic poultry over the past month.

Officials say there are still occasional detections of HPAI in wild birds, so the virus still poses a risk to bird owners, but the risk has lessened since April.

Still, bird owners taking poultry to a fair should take some specific biosecurity precautions before and after the fair, including handwashing, reporting sick birds to the fair veterinarian and keeping sick birds isolated from the rest of the flock, BAH says. More tips are available online.

The board notes that the outbreak posed a low risk to the public and didn’t create any food safety concerns.