In 2015 bird flu has caused problems for farmers everywhere, including Minnesota.
Many poultry flocks have gotten Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or Avian Flu. Minnesota lost more than 9 million turkeys. Here are some answers to questions about Avian Flu.
If chickens and turkeys get sick, will I get sick too?
It isn’t likely. This flu has never been found in humans anywhere in the U.S.
What if I eat poultry that has the flu?
Poultry products you buy at the store are completely safe to eat. All poultry flocks are tested for the flu. Any flock that has it is not allowed to enter the food supply. That means it never appears in a store.
Why is this flu so bad?
The poultry get very sick and die quickly. Losing birds is stressful for farmers and costs them money. Certain foods like turkey, chicken and eggs may cost more.
How do the birds get sick?
They get it from waterfowl, like geese and ducks, which don’t get sick from it. But if one flies over a farm and releases droppings, saliva, or nasal discharge, it can make poultry very sick. The virus gets into the dust and soil around the farm and in barns, and onto people’s shoes, clothes, farm equipment, and cars and trucks.
What happens to a farm when the birds get this virus?
Infected birds must be destroyed so the virus doesn’t spread. Barns must be cleaned and sanitized. Then the farm must go through a waiting period before it can raise a new flock.
The main thing to know is: Minnesota’s poultry industry and government leaders are working with farmers to prevent this from happening again.