WASHINGTON — After a period of reprieve from the ongoing highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks, the United States has seen an uptick of cases in the past few weeks.

Already in the month of October, there have been 618,801 birds affected by the virus — 260 times more birds than in the summer months combined.

According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the most recent outbreaks in commercial flocks occurred in a breeder operation in Becker County, Minn., and a turkey flock in Spink County, SD, on Oct. 19. The agency reported 20,400 birds affected at the Becker location and 34,000 at the Spink location.

A few days ago, confirmed HPAI cases were reported in two other South Dakota turkey flocks. An outbreak in Faulk County led to 49,700 birds being culled, and 65,000 birds were culled in McPherson County.

This past month, six different Minnesota commercial flocks have been infected by the disease, leading to the culling of 230,300 birds. Notably, two different flocks in Becker County tested positive for HPAI.

While Minnesota and South Dakota have seen the most HPAI cases this month, other states that have been affected include Oregon, Montana, Washington, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Colorado, Utah and Idaho.

Since the beginning of the HPAI outbreaks in 2022, there have been 337 commercial flocks affected, 525 backyard flocks affected, and 59.4 million birds culled. Minnesota and South Dakota have overall seen the most affected commercial flocks with 87 and 67 infected by the disease, respectively. However, Iowa has had the largest number of birds culled — a total of 16 million.