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Outbreaks on turkey farms push U.S. bird flu total to 25 million

Four of every 10 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) this year have been on a turkey farm, with Minnesota and South Dakota hit the most frequently, USDA data showed on Tuesday.

The USDA confirmed HPAI on seven additional farms holding 337,348 turkeys, lifting the U.S. total to just under 25 million birds, mostly chickens and turkeys, since the viral disease appeared among domestic flocks in early February.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service listed outbreaks on 74 turkey farms, with losses of 3.6 million turkeys.

The United States produced 214 million turkeys last year. Minnesota was the leading state, raising 40.5 million of them.

Turkey farms accounted for 43% of the 170 outbreaks among commercial and backyard flocks. HPAI was identified at only nine egg farms but 16.8 million egg-laying hens have died of “high path” bird flu.

The Indiana state Board of Animal Health said HPAI was found on Tuesday on a second duck farm in Elkhart County with around 6,000 ducks on the premises. An Elkhart County farm with 4,724 ducks was hit over the weekend by HPAI.

More than 50 million birds died in an epidemic of HPAI in 2014 and 2015, including 12% of the U.S. flock of egg-laying hens.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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