Of the 3,300 wild birds collected and tested by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, only one bird tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza.
The surveillance operation began after the disease was discovered in the state’s domestic turkeys. Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, said,
We know that waterfowl serve as reservoirs for avian influenza because they contract the virus, but normally are not killed by it. However, what we don’t know is what role wildlife may have played in recent infections in domestic poultry. We’re continuing to take a science-based approach to testing so we can obtain meaningful results.
DNR researchers are focusing their surveillance efforts on waterfowl, raptors, and wild turkeys. 84 hunter-harvested wild turkeys were tested this spring without a single case of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
Hunters and poultry keepers should remember that the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza being passed to humans is considered low by the USDA. Proper handling of poultry, waterfowl, and eggs by cooking them to an internal temperature of 165 degrees before consumption will kill bacteria and viruses.
Moving forward, Cornicelli said,
“[The DNR’s] goal is to use scientifically sound approaches to better understand avian influenza in wildlife and to help inform prevention and management responses. We will continue to coordinate and collaborate with other cooperating agencies and organizations on state, regional and national efforts to better understand and manage this disease.”