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Migration Season Brings Bird Flu Concerns

Northwest Iowa — Northwest Iowa poultry producers are reminded to be vigilant for signs of avian influenza as wild bird populations are beginning their fall migrations and could bring perilous hazards with them.

Doctor Jack Shere, a veterinarian with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says farmers need to be watchful because this is the time of year diseases can spread as wild ducks and geese head south for the winter.

During the 2015 bird flu outbreak, cases were confirmed at 77 Iowa poultry operations in 18 counties, including several here in northwest Iowa. It resulted in the destruction of more than 31-million birds and an economic loss to the state of $1.2-billion. With the goal of preventing a repeat, Shere offers tips for producers on maintaining poultry health.

A strain of bird flu that’s deadly to humans killed dozens of people in China earlier this year. Shere says the USDA is prepared should migrating wild birds bring a killer strain to the US. He says that’s why vigilance is so important.

The agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has launched “Defend the Flock,” an online program with tips on how to protect fowl in commercial and backyard operations.  More information on “Defend The Flock” can be found by CLICKING HERE.

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