Minnesota reports first cases of highly pathogenic bird flu in 2023

After bird flu swept through the state last year, Minnesota has reported its first cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza on Monday.

Minnesota Board of Animal Health says the positive samples from a backyard flock in Le Sueur County were confirmed on Monday. That site has since been quarantined and the birds have been "depopulated," officials said.

The new cases are the first bird flu cases in Minnesota in four months.

"We were fortunate to get a reprieve from the virus during the past few months," writes Senior Poultry Veterinarian Dr. Shauna Voss in a statement. "We’ve been anticipating the return of the virus and are recalling our partner resources back to the fight. We continue to call on anyone who owns birds to stand up their biosecurity, especially during these next couple months."

Officials remind Minnesotans that poultry is safe to eat with standard handling of the food, like cooking poultry and eggs to 165 degrees. Bird flu doesn't typically infect humans.

For residents with backyard flocks, the state also says they can check their birds for the following symptoms:

  • Extreme depression.
  • Very quiet.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Decrease in feed or water intake.
  • Swelling or purple discoloration of head, eyelids, comb, wattle, and hocks.
  • Decrease in egg production.
  • Sudden, unexplained death.

They also urge poultry owners to follow biosecurity standards to prevent the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza.