Avian influenza (AI), also known as bird flu, is a contagious disease caused by a virus that can infect both farm-raised and wild birds. There are a variety of AI forms always circulating in birds, but all can be grouped into one of two main types of the virus: low pathogenic (LPAI) or highly pathogenic (HPAI).
LPAI usually causes mild symptoms (ruffled feathers, some respiratory signs, and a drop in egg production) and may go undetected. HPAI is more virulent, spreading rapidly through flocks and killing most of the birds within 48 hours. Minnesota has detected LPAI in the past and has successfully controlled and prevented it from spreading. Minnesota has never had a case of HPAI.
Avian Influenza in the News
AI has been in the news in recent years, with HPAI cases in Asia, Africa, and Europe. However, the low pathogenic strains found in the U.S. are completely different from the highly pathogenic strain currently circulating overseas. The Board has been following developments in countries where HPAI has been identified in poultry flocks and has been working with other state and federal agencies to respond in case HPAI arrives in Minnesota or in the U.S.