(Adds details from the state)
By P.J. Huffstutter
CHICAGO, April 26 (Reuters) - The Minnesota State Emergency Operations Center has called on the National Guard to deliver water for use in the effort to contain the rapidly spreading avian flu virus, the center said on Sunday.
Starting Monday, 30 National Guard soldiers and 15 military water trucks from the Willmar, Minnesota-based 682nd Engineer Battalion and the Brooklyn Park-based A Company, 134th Brigade Support Battalion will be used, the center said in a statement.
Large volumes of water are needed for the foam-based systems being used to cull flocks on infected turkey farms in a bid to contain the spread of the H5N2 virus, the statement said.
The guard members will work through Wednesday as additional water transport resources are identified.
The National Guard became available to be activated for such efforts last week, after Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency over the spread of the strain of avian flu, which has lead to the extermination of more than 7.3 million birds in the United States so far.
Minnesota’s action followed a similar move by neighboring Wisconsin a few days earlier.
The highly pathogenic H5N2 strain has been identified on 49 Minnesota farms in 17 counties and affected more than 2.6 million birds in the state, according to Minnesota state officials. (Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Leslie Adler)