Updated: 3:10 p.m. | Posted: 10:15 a.m.
This year's avian influenza outbreak has already cost outstate Minnesota nearly $310 million, according to an analysis released Monday by University of Minnesota Extension.
The report put the direct economic cost of the influenza-related deaths of 5.7 million turkeys and chickens across the state at $113 million as of May 11.
• Where it stands: Outbreak in Minnesota
• Full coverage: Avian influenza
The report's authors used economic modeling to show the ripple effects of the poultry deaths, including lost income and business-to-business spending. The study found that for every $1 million loss in poultry production, $230,000 of demand for poultry feed is also lost.
The total cost to the state has been $390 million, according to Brigid Tuck, one of the authors of the report.
If the virus continues at its current pace through another cycle of turkey production, losses in the state could double, said Brigid Tuck, a senior analyst with the U's extension service.
The highly pathogenic H5N2 virus has been found at 88 Minnesota farms since March. The virus has already led to the deaths of more than 7.7 million turkeys and chickens across the state, according to the latest state figures.
The flu strain spread quickly across much of the country this season, infecting poultry flocks from Oregon to Iowa, where more than 25 million chickens have died.
The flu has been disastrous for poultry farmers in Minnesota, which is the country's top turkey producing state. Although farmers are eligible for federal assistance for any birds killed to prevent the spread of the disease, they are not reimbursed for birds killed by the flu.
State data from last summer showed that there were more than 6,000 jobs in poultry production across the state. Some companies related to the poultry industry have already laid off workers or slowed production.
The report found that job losses directly in poultry production also lead to layoffs in industries like trucking and wholesale industries. An estimated 210 jobs will be affected across all industries for every 100 poultry production jobs that are idled, according to the report.
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced last week that all poultry exhibitions across the state will be canceled this year, including at the Minnesota State Fair and county fairs.
The risk that the strain will spread to the general public remains very low. Workers who have had contact with infected poultry are being monitored by the Minnesota Department of Health.