Federal government to step up monitoring wild birds this fall to guard against avian influenza

IndustriesAssociated Press

The federal government has announced plans to step up monitoring of wild birds for avian influenza this fall to provide an early warning of any resurgence of a disease that devastated poultry farms in the Upper Midwest.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued plans Thursday aimed at minimizing the impacts on domestic poultry flocks if any bird flu viruses return or mutate in migrating waterfowl and other wild birds.

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Federal and state biologists will collect around 41,000 samples from apparently healthy wild birds from targeted areas across the country, mostly from ducks shot by hunters.

The H5N2 strain has cost poultry producers around 48 million birds, hitting Iowa egg producers and Minnesota turkey growers especially hard.