No New Cases Of Bird Flu

Date posted - June 29, 2015

Des Moines, Iowa — Finally there’s a little bit of good news on the bird flu front. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said there were no new probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the state last week and the last positive flock was detected on June 16.
Infected turkey flocks have been depopulated and are currently being composted.  Cleaning and disinfection is taking place.  Environmental samplings of all sites will take place to confirm successful cleaning and disinfecting before restocking.  IDALS and USDA officials have been meeting with affected farmers regularly to share information and answer questions.

All the commercial laying and pullet facilities have been depopulated and cleaning and disinfection of facilities continues.  Disposal of affected birds has been completed except for the last layer site announced.  That site had been doing on-site burial of affected birds, but due to the recent wet weather, burial has been stopped.  The birds are now being placed in bio-secure boxes and will be disposed of via incineration or at the landfill in Southwest Iowa.  Disposal of other materials from affected sites continues as well.

To-date, over 1000 bio-secure boxes have been disposed of via incineration or at one of the two currently-approved landfills.  Approximately 250 are still in need of disposal.  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contractor Clean Harbors is moving the materials.  All trucks are cleaned and disinfected before they leave an infected property and before leaving a disposal site.


USDA has more than 2300 staff and contractors helping respond to the avian influenza situation in Iowa.  A USDA Incident Management Team (IMT) has been operating out of Ames and overseeing USDA’s activities.

More than 300 state employees have also participated in the disaster response at some point. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Public Health (in conjunction with local public health officials), Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Department of Corrections, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and Iowa National Guard have all supported the response effort to this disease.

Updated information avian influenza will be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.

Northey participated in International Conference on Avian Influenza and Poultry Trade

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey participated in the International Conference on Avian Influenza and Poultry Trade this week.  The meeting was hosted by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) from June 22 to 24 in Baltimore, MD.

The conference was organized to review the risks of introduction of avian influenza viruses through global trade in poultry and poultry products, and to discuss appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.

More information about the conference can be found here.

Background information

The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world.  As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4)  Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.

These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Information will also be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at

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