St. Paul, MN  (KROC-AM News) - The virulent bird flu that has caused the deaths of millions of turkeys in Minnesota has now been found in Steele County.

State officials are reporting eight additional confirmed outbreaks of the H5N2 avian flu have been confirmed in commercial poultry flocks located in four Minnesota counties. It’s not known how many turkeys there are at the affected farm in Steele County, which is the first in southeastern Minnesota to experience an outbreak of the bird flu. Previously, an outbreak confirmed in Le Sueur County was the closest one to the Rochester area.

The other outbreaks confirmed Wednesday were in Kandiyohi, Stearns and Swift Counties. There have now been 67 confirmed outbreaks affecting over 3.4 million turkeys.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says the National Guard members activated to assist in the state’s response to the bird flu crisis last weekend have returned home. Their mission to deliver the water needed to create a foam used to euthanize the affected turkeys has now been taken over by private contractors.

Officials note National Guard troops could be called on to assist in the future if needed.

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