Three New US Bird Flu Outbreaks in Iowa

US - Three more outbreaks of H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been confirmed in the US, but no new outbreaks have been reported in Minnesota for several days.
calendar icon 22 May 2015
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The new outbreaks, confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, bring the total detections to 177.

The total number of birds now affected in the epidemic comes to 39,186,573.

The latest three outbreaks all occurred in Iowa:

  • Iowa, Sioux county - 240,000 commercial chickens;
  • Iowa, Sioux county - commercial chicken flock, number pending;
  • Iowa, Sioux county - backyard mixed poultry flock, number pending.

They bring the total detections of HPAI in Iowa to 54, with 26,874,900 birds affected.

On 21 May, Iowa State Government's Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship followed Minnesota in announcing a ban on showing birds at fairs and other meetings.

The ban will affect county fairs, the Iowa State Fair, livestock auction markets, swap meets and exotic sales.

“We are asking producers and bird owners to increase their biosecurity measures and we feel this is a needed step to further minimize the risk of spreading the virus,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

"The scale of this outbreak has been unprecedented, so we think it is important we take every possible step to limit the chance that this disease will spread any further."

The Iowa Turkey Federation and Iowa Poultry Association had both recommended that bird exhibitions be cancelled this year due to avian influenza.

Officials with the Department spoke with leadership from the Iowa State Fair and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach this week to discuss the situation.

“We have been working in conjunction with our state veterinarian to monitor the situation,” said Gary Slater, Iowa State Fair CEO/Manager.

“We strive to provide safe and healthy competition for all the animals at our State Fair and know this decision was made in the best interest of our exhibitors and our poultry industry.”

“Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H's priority is youth and their learning experiences," said Mike Anderson, Extension 4-H State Livestock Specialist and State Fair 4-H Livestock Superintendent.

"Some 4-H'ers will be disappointed that they won't be able to exhibit their poultry projects at fairs this summer, but we're exploring alternate learning opportunities to offer them at fairs and will share more details as plans develop.

"This is a great example to the public, fair-goers, and the consumer that the animal health, animal well-being and the safety of the poultry industry is at the forefront of our young people’s practices.

"Through our annual Food Safety and Quality Assurance curriculum, we have educated youth for many years on these and other topics such as biosecurity and the potential for diseases to spread. The education and learning practices are being put into action in the real world."

Iowa has continued to report new suspected outbreaks of the disease, but positive news is coming from Minnesota, which has now not reported any new suspected cases since 15 May, and the state has stopped issuing it's daily update as result.

Further Reading

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