- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 28, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - In an effort to prevent the spread of deadly bird flu, North Dakota’s animal health board is prohibiting bringing all birds to public events and sales.

The state Board of Animal Health moved Tuesday to ban bringing birds to shows, exhibitions and public sales within the state until further notice.

“The state board is taking this precaution to reduce the risk of avian influenza exposure to North Dakota birds,” state veterinarian Susan Keller said in a statement. “Mixing birds could unnecessarily increase the risk of exposure.”

So far, forms of the H5 virus has been confirmed at only two farms in North Dakota, but both cases cost producers more than 110,000 birds.

The first farm, in Dickey County, was confirmed with the H5N2 virus and led to the deaths of 40,000 turkeys.

The second farm, in LaMoure County, was determined to have some form of the H5 virus and cost the producer about 69,000 turkeys and about 2,000 chickens. Officials are still waiting to learn whether the second farm was indeed affected with the highly pathogenic H5N2 strain.

The H5N2 virus has cost Midwestern turkey and chicken producers more than 13 million birds since early March.

The precaution by the state board does not apply to approved private sales that meet North Dakota importation requirements.

In a statement, the Board of Animal Health said it is continuing to “monitor and assess the disease threat” and will review that at its quarterly meeting on June 10.

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