The latest outbreak of the H-5-N-2 avian influenza is reported in a commercial egg laying facility in northwest Iowa’s Osceola County. The first outbreak was found in a turkey facility in Buena Vista County, to the south, and impacted 37-thousand birds. This latest outbreak ramps up the impact significantly with three-point-eight million birds that will have to be destroyed. It is believed the virus is carried by the migration of wild birds. The Iowa Department of Public Health says the risk to people from the virus is considered to be low and there have been no human cases detected.
The flock experienced increased mortality and as a result samples were sent to the South Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for preliminary testing. The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa confirmed the findings. NVSL is the only internationally recognized Avian Influenza reference laboratory in the United States.
USDA APHIS is working closely with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the premise and birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.
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
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. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.