2022 HPAI Background

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed several findings of the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild waterfowl in the Atlantic flyways in January 2022. On February 8, 2022 APHIS confirmed H5N1 HPAI in a commercial turkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana. Since then it has been confirmed in multiple states and flock types. The USDA updates the latest HPAI detections on its website.

The first cases of H5N1 in Minnesota were confirmed on March 25, 2022.

The virus has not caused human illness. According to the CDC, Recent Bird Flu Infections in U.S. Wild Birds and Poultry Pose a Low Risk to the Public.

Federal and State partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area, following existing avian influenza response plans. During a HPAI event in Minnesota, a response zone is created around the infected premises in order to control movement and establish an area for testing and surveillance protocols to be carried out.

The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in poultry operations, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations. Visit the USDA’s avian health web page for more information.

Commercial poultry producers and backyard flock owners should continue to practice strict biosecurity; most importantly, preventing their birds from exposure to wild waterfowl.

Affected Counties

How HPAI cases are identified and announced in Minnesota

There are several steps involved in confirming a poultry flock is positive for a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza. Here is an outline of the process, which includes timing of public notification:

  1. A poultry producer or backyard flock owner notices unexplained death loss or other signs of illness in his/her birds.
  2. The individual notifies their veterinarian or an animal health official.
  3. Samples are collected from the birds on the premises.
  4. Samples are submitted to an approved state laboratory for preliminary testing.
  5. State laboratories determine if the samples are positive for an H5 or H7 influenza virus.
    • If samples are positive for an H5 or H7 virus, they are considered as presumptive positives and are forwarded to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. NVSL is the only laboratory in the United States that is authorized to officially confirm the presence of a HPAI and identify the specific strain of virus.
  6. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health will include information on presumptive positive flocks on its website.
  7. Once NVSL confirms HPAI, the USDA posts updates on its website.

Hotlines

Minnesota Avian Influenza Hotline: 1-833-454-0156

Press 1 to report a sick domestic bird.

Press 2 to report sick or dead raptors or waterfowl, and to report groups of five or more dead wild birds to the DNR.

Press 3 for biosecurity and general poultry management questions.

Press 4 for permitting and control areas.

Press 5 for all other inquires.

Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (weekdays 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.): 320-231-5170

Minnesota Duty Officer (nights and weekends): 800-422-0798

USDA federal toll-free number: 1-866-536-7593

Report sick or dead raptors or waterfowl, and to report groups of five or more dead wild birds to the DNR.

Department of Natural Resources: 888-646-6367

Flock owner support

First and foremost farmers and flock owners need to take care of themselves and their family. The HPAI outbreak may be adding to stress, financial problems, price and marketing uncertainties, household difficulties, and social pressures. You can contact the Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline anytime for support:

Phone: 833-600-2670
Text: FARMSTRESS to 898211
Email: farmstress@state.mn.us

Visit the Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline website for more information and resources.

More resources:

  • Dial 988 for the Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.

Testing and Reporting

Reporting

Any unexplained illness or increase in mortality, decreased egg production, quiet or depressed birds, respiratory or neurologic (twisted necks or quiet) signs of disease should be investigated. Call your veterinarian to describe the signs in your flock, so together, next steps can be taken. If you do not have a veterinarian, call the Board at 320-231-5170. You may also contact any of our state or federal field staff throughout the state.

Testing

Samples for official avian influenza testing must be collected by an accredited veterinarian or individuals trained and certified as authorized poultry testing agents (APTA). The Minnesota Plan requires 30 pooled tracheal swab samples from each barn when birds are showing signs of disease consistent with influenza. Always collect samples from dead birds before others. Every grower should have enough tracheal swab supplies (BHI tubes and swabs) needed to sample all flocks within your operation. Sample submission forms can be requested from the MPTL and should be submitted to the MPTL in Willmar for testing. When collecting samples in these situations, please call ahead to the MPTL to notify when samples will arrive.

For supplies or detailed information on sample submission and testing, contact:

Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory
622 Hwy 71 NE, Willmar, MN 56201
Phone: 320-231-5170
Email: poultry@state.mn.us

There are remote sample drop sites located in Morrison and Stearns Counties. Producers can get hours of operation and location details from the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Response Zones

When a Minnesota premises is identified with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), on-the-ground response efforts begin immediately. Animal health officials carry out a number of activities according to protocols established by the U. S. Department of Agriculture in order to manage the disease and reduce any potential risk of its spread. These activities take place not only on the affected premises, but also in two areas around the affected premises called the control area and surveillance zone.

Affected Site

Premises infected with HPAI are placed under quarantine, prohibiting the movement of poultry and poultry products on or off the affected site. The USDA works with infected flock owners to develop a flock plan which includes appraisal and indemnity agreements for depopulation of poultry that remain on the premises. After depopulation of the flock, all carcasses on the affected farms are composted inside of the barns, unless another method of disposal is approved by the response team. This process takes approximately one month to complete.

Control Area

The control area is a 10 km (6.2 miles) zone established around infected flocks. Within this zone, officials work to identify all premises with commercial and backyard poultry. Backyard and commercial flocks are placed under quarantine and cannot move poultry or poultry products on or off their premises. Commercial flocks must undergo surveillance in accordance with USDA protocols. All testing must be negative before quarantines can be lifted.

Backyard flocks will be required to monitor for development of clinical signs and may participate in surveillance testing depending on the situation.

All poultry producers in the control area must comply with stringent biosecurity and permitting protocols in order to move poultry or poultry products off their farms.

Surveillance Zone

The surveillance zone is a 10 km zone surrounding the control area. Animal health officials identify all premises within this zone that have commercial and backyard poultry to provide them with information on HPAI and advise them on biosecurity and close monitoring of their flocks. Surveillance testing of these flocks may occur in accordance with protocols established by the USDA.

Permit Requirements for Control Areas

If you raise poultry and your farm is located in a Control Area established as a result of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, you will need a permit from the Board of Animal Health to move your birds and/or poultry related products on or off your farm. Permit requests can be made directly through an EMRS-Gateway Account. For those without a Gateway Account, permit requests can be made by completing the Minnesota Movement Permit Request form.

Before a permit can be issued, a Monitored Premises Status Questionnaire must be submitted to ensure your birds are not displaying signs of HPAI and that you do not have any dangerous connections to an infected farm. Each Questionnaire must be completed for the origin premises on the permit request, be dated within 48 hours of the planned movement, and submitted along with your permit request.

A permit is needed for movement of the following items into or out of a HPAI Control Area:

  • Live birds
  • Day-old chicks/poults
  • Manure/used litter

Blanket permits will be issued for the following items into or out of a HPAI Control Area:

  • Eggs and egg products
  • Hatching eggs
  • Semen
  • Feed
  • On-farm mortality pick-up (rendering)

Once a permit request has been approved and the required items are verified, a permit will be issued that contains information related to the specific product being moved. All movements made under this permit will need to be captured. Each movement must include the date the move occurred, the amount of product moved, and the negative testing (lab accession) associated with that movement. Anyone with EMRS-Gateway access must enter each movement via the EMRS-Gateway. Those without this access must report movement information to mnairesponse.bah@state.mn.us within 48 hours of the move.

The following general conditions will be listed on the permit and must be followed. Additional details for each of these conditions are explained below, and in the Secure Poultry Supply (SPS) Permit guidance found on the Secure Poultry Supply website. Blanket permits will be valid for 30 days and will require each movement be reported at the time of move.

Example of conditions on a permit:

Example of conditions listed in an approved permit.

Birds to Slaughter from Commercial Farms

This is a moderate to high-risk activity, and each movement will need to be permitted by the Board of Animal Health.

  1. Monitored Premises Status: A Monitored Premises Status Questionnaire must be completed within 48 hours of the planned movement and submitted with the permit request.
  2. Testing: Two negative PCR tests (up to 11 bird pooled samples for each barn) must be collected from all birds on the farm prior to movement. Either 2 PCRs collected and tested 1 day prior to move; or 1 PCR collected on 2 consecutive days prior to move with at least 1 PCR collected and tested within 24 hours of move. Test results must be verified by the Board before a permit is issued.
  3. Completion of Pre-Movement Isolation Period (PMIP): The entire premises must implement the PMIP to minimize the likelihood of flocks being exposed to HPAI close to a scheduled movement date. The PMIP involves a defined period of greatly intensified biosecurity for an entire premises (see Product-specific biosecurity for details) prior to permitted movement of live poultry.
    • Turkeys – 8 days
    • Broilers, spent hens and breeders – 5 days
  4. Product-specific biosecurity: Product-specific biosecurity as described in the individual Secure Poultry Supply Plan must be implemented.
  5. Planned route of transport: A route must be used that avoids other poultry premises when birds are transported to slaughter facilities.
  6. Movement tracking: Movements must be entered into the EMRS-Gateway within 8 hours of movement. LMS Accessions (test results) should be connected for each movement entered.

Birds from Grow/Holding/Pullet to Finish/Lay Farms

This is a high-risk activity, and each movement will need to be permitted by the Board of Animal Health.

  1. Monitored Premises Status: A Monitored Premises Status Questionnaire must be completed within 48 hours of the planned movement and submitted with the permit request.
  2. Testing: Two negative PCR tests (up to 11 bird pooled samples for each barn) must be collected from all birds on the farm prior movement. Either 2 PCRs collected and tested 1 day prior to move; or 1 PCR collected on 2 consecutive days prior to move with at least 1 PCR collected and tested within 24 hours of move. Test results must be verified by the Board before a permit is issued.
  3. Completion of Pre-Movement Isolation Period (PMIP): The entire premises must implement the PMIP to minimize the likelihood of flocks being exposed to HPAI close to a scheduled movement date. The PMIP involves a defined period of greatly intensified biosecurity for an entire premises (see Product-specific biosecurity for details) prior to permitted movement of live poultry.
    • Turkeys – 8 days
    • Broilers and Table-Egg Layer Breeders – 5 days
    • Pullets – 8 days
  4. Product-specific biosecurity: Product-specific biosecurity as described in the individual Secure Poultry Supply Plan must be implemented.
  5. Planned route of transport: A route must be used that avoids other poultry premises when birds are transported.
  6. Quarantine: Flock must be quarantined at the destination for 21 days.
  7. Movement tracking: Movements must be entered into the EMRS-Gateway within 8 hours of movement. LMS Accessions (test results) should be connected for each movement entered.
  8. Control Area Biosecurity Audit: For flocks placed into the Buffer Zone of a Control Area, an on-site biosecurity audit must be conducted to be eligible for indemnity in the event that those birds are subsequently confirmed positive for HPAI. Permit requests should be made 5-7 days in advance of the planned placements so an audit can be scheduled.

Day-Old Chicks/Poults from Commercial Hatchery

This is a negligible to low-risk activity, and each movement will need to be permitted by the Board of Animal Health.

  1. Transport biosecurity: Must be maintained for all deliveries under this permit.
  2. Product-specific biosecurity: Product-specific biosecurity as described in the individual Secure Poultry Supply Plan must be implemented.
  3. Movement tracking: Movements must be entered into the EMRS-Gateway within 8 hours of movement.
  4. Control Area Biosecurity Audit: For flocks placed into the Buffer Zone of a Control Area, an on-site biosecurity audit must be conducted to be eligible for indemnity in the event that those birds are subsequently confirmed positive for HPAI. Permit requests should be made 5-7 days in advance of the planned placements so that an audit can be scheduled.

Manure and Used-Litter Off of a Non-Infected Farm

Movement of manure from a premises within a HPAI Control Area to an off-site location for spreading or storage will need to be permitted by the Board of Animal Health. Manure and litter can be moved with an approved permit off non-infected poultry farms in a Control Area to an off-site location without poultry. Each permit issued will be valid for three days. If additional time is needed, another permit must be requested.

The origin premises address for each permit request must include the farm location where the manure or litter is currently located. The destination location of each request must be either: A. The destination address of the property where the manure will be applied. Or B. The address of the company or business that will be moving/spreading the litter to multiple destination fields/locations. Field GPS coordinates (decimal degrees) must be documented and reported for each destination field/location manure is delivered to.

  1. Monitored Premises Status: If birds are on-site, a Monitored Premises Status Questionnaire must be completed within 48 hours of the planned movement and submitted with the permit request.
  2. Testing: Two negative PCR tests (up to 11 bird pooled samples for each barn) must be collected from all birds on the farm. Either 2 PCRs collected and tested 1 day prior to move; or 1 PCR collected on 2 consecutive days prior to move with at least 1 PCR collected and tested within 24 hours of move. If no birds are currently on-site, a flock test must have been completed for the previous flock on the farm. Test results must be verified by the Board before a permit is issued.
  3. Transport biosecurity: Must be maintained for all deliveries under this permit.
  4. Additional biosecurity documentation: May be required if birds are on-site.
  5. Movement tracking: Movements must be entered into the EMRS-Gateway within 8 hours of movement. LMS Accessions (test results) should be connected for each movement entered, if appropriate.

Eggs from Commercial Farms

This is a negligible-risk activity, and each movement will need to be permitted by the Board of Animal Health. 30-day blanket permits will be issued.

  1. Monitored Premises Status: A Monitored Premises Status Questionnaire must be completed within 48 hours of the planned movement and submitted with the permit request.
  2. Testing: Two negative PCR tests (up to 11 bird pooled samples for each barn) must be collected from all birds on the farm prior to each egg movement. Either 2 PCRs collected and tested 1 day prior to move; or 1 PCR collected on 2 consecutive days prior to move with at least 1 PCR collected and tested within 24 hours of move. The first set of tests must be verified by the Board before a permit is issued.
  3. Eggs held at location: Eggs must be held on site for at least two days after being laid before being transported.
  4. Transport biosecurity: Must be maintained for all deliveries under this permit.
  5. Product-specific biosecurity: Product-specific biosecurity as described in the individual Secure Poultry Supply Plan must be implemented.
  6. Subsequent Movements:
    • The HPAI Interactive Map and Monitored Premises questionnaire must be reviewed and any changes to the information on the questionnaire reported as needed. Delivery sites also must be reviewed for any change in status to those premises.
    • Testing, as described above, must continue before every move.
    • All movements must be entered into the EMRS-Gateway within 8 hours of movement. LMS Accessions (test results) should be connected for each movement entered.

Hatching Eggs from Breeder Farms to Hatchery

This is a negligible to low-risk activity, and each movement will need to be permitted by the Board of Animal Health. 30-day blanket permits will be issued.

  1. Monitored Premises Status: A Monitored Premises Status Questionnaire must be completed within 48 hours of the planned movement and submitted with the permit request.
  2. Testing: Two negative PCR tests (up to 11 bird pooled samples for each barn) must be collected from all birds on the farm prior to each egg movement. Either 2 PCRs collected and tested 1 day prior to move; or 1 PCR collected on 2 consecutive days prior to move with at least 1 PCR collected and tested within 24 hours of move. The first set of tests must be verified by the Board before a permit is issued.
  3. Egg hold: Eggs must be held for two days prior to move.
  4. Transport biosecurity: Must be maintained for all deliveries under this permit.
  5. Product-specific biosecurity: Product-specific biosecurity as described in the individual Secure Poultry Supply Plan must be implemented.
  6. Subsequent Movements:
    • The HPAI Interactive Map and Monitored Premises questionnaire must be reviewed and any changes to the information on the questionnaire reported as needed. Delivery sites also must be reviewed for any change in status to those premises.
    • Testing, as described above, must continue before every move.
    • All movements must be entered into the EMRS-Gateway within 8 hours of movement. LMS Accessions (test results) should be connected for each movement entered.

Semen

This is a moderate-risk activity, and each movement will need to be permitted by the Board of Animal Health. 30-day blanket permits will be issued.

  1. Monitored Premises Status: A Monitored Premises Status Questionnaire must be completed within 48 hours of the planned movement and submitted with the permit request.
  2. Testing: Two negative PCR tests (up to 11 bird pooled samples for each barn) must be collected from all birds on the farm prior to each movement. Either 2 PCRs collected and tested 1 day prior to move; or 1 PCR collected on 2 consecutive days prior to move with at least 1 PCR collected and tested within 24 hours of move. The first set of tests must be verified by the Board before a permit is issued.
  3. Transport biosecurity: Must be maintained for all deliveries under this permit.
  4. Product-specific biosecurity: Product-specific biosecurity as described in the individual Secure Poultry Supply Plan must be implemented.
  5. Restrictions at destination premises:
    • A two day hold on hatching eggs must be implemented at destination breeder premises post-semen movement/insemination. Hen flocks on the recipient premises must be tested with 2 pools of 11 swabs daily.
    • Quarantine: Hen flock on the recipient premises must be quarantined for 21 days.
  6. Subsequent Movements:
    • The HPAI Interactive Map and Monitored Premises questionnaire must be reviewed and any changes to the information on the questionnaire reported as needed. Delivery sites also must be reviewed for any change in status to those premises.
    • Testing, as described above, must continue before every move.
    • All movements must be entered into the EMRS-Gateway within 8 hours of movement. LMS Accessions should be listed for each movement entered.

Feed

If all biosecurity measures are implemented as recommended, feed delivery is a negligible-risk activity. All feed mills with one or more delivery locations to premises with poultry in a Control Area must be permitted. A 30-day blanket permit will be issued. Feed ingredients delivered to feed mills do not require permitting.

  1. Monitored Premises Status: Feed mills that have poultry on-site must meet the criteria for a Monitored Premises designation. A Monitored Premises Status Questionnaire must be completed within 48 hours of the planned movement and submitted with the permit request.
  2. Testing: For feed mills with poultry on-site, Control Areas surveillance testing must be conducted as directed.
  3. Transport biosecurity: Must be maintained for all deliveries under this permit.
  4. Movement tracking: Movements must be entered into the EMRS-Gateway within 8 hours of movement. LMS Accessions (test results) should be connected for each movement entered if poultry are on-site.

Mortality Disposal Off of a Non-Infected Farm (Rendering)

Rendering is generally accepted as a high-risk activity, and each movement will need to be permitted by the Board of Animal Health. 30-day blanket permits will be issued for each premises.

  1. Monitored Premises Status: A Monitored Premises Status Questionnaire must be completed within 48 hours of the planned movement and submitted with the permit request.
  2. Testing: Two negative PCR tests (up to 11 bird pooled samples for each barn) must be collected from all birds on the farm prior to each movement. Either 2 PCRs collected and tested 1 day prior to move; or 1 PCR collected on 2 consecutive days prior to move with at least 1 PCR collected and tested within 24 hours of move. The first set of tests must be verified by the Board before a permit is issued.
  3. Mortality hold: Mortality must be held for three days prior to move.
  4. Transport biosecurity: Must be maintained for all deliveries under this permit.
  5. Product-specific biosecurity:
    • Rendering dumpsters must be maintained outside of Perimeter Buffer Area.
    • Pick-ups should be for only one farm with delivery to the plant.
    • Rendering trucks used in control areas should be dedicated to control area pickups and separate from other activities outside control areas.
  6. Planned route of transport: A route must be used that avoids other poultry premises when birds are transported.
  7. Movement tracking: Movements must be entered into the EMRS-Gateway within 8 hours of movement. LMS Accessions (test results) should be connected for each movement entered.

Cleaning and Disinfection Resources

This is a spreadsheet of companies offering their cleaning and disinfection services for HPAI affected poultry producers. Please contact them directly with questions or to request their services.

Recovery

Control Area Quarantine Release

Once certain criteria are met, HPAI control areas are released from quarantine. This means that poultry producers and backyard flock owners of non-infected premises are no longer restricted in moving poultry or poultry products off of or onto their farms.

Restocking Process

Affected farms can be cleared for restocking once the following processes are completed:

  1. Affected farms complete the cleaning and disinfecting process.
  2. Environmental samples are taken and test negative for influenza.
  3. Barns complete a 28-day down time.
  4. Producer and animal health officials work together to develop restocking plan.

Quarantine Release Process

A producer must go through several steps in order for the quarantine to be lifted. In addition to completing carcass disposal, cleaning and disinfecting, and a 28-day down time period, the following activities must take place before releasing the quarantine on a previously-infected premises:

  1. Restock agreement signed.
  2. Barns restocked with birds.
  3. Three rounds of surveillance testing on birds.