Bird Flu Discovery Prompts Disaster Declaration For Sioux County

Orange City, Iowa — State and federal authorities have confirmed a case of bird flu in Sioux County.

The case of bird flu was in a flock of commercial layer chickens, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Due to this case, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster proclamation for Sioux County. The proclamation allows state resources from Iowa Homeland Security, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and other agencies to assist with tracking and monitoring, rapid detection, containment, disposal and disinfection.

Since the beginning of 2023, there have been 17 confirmed cases of bird flu in Iowa, with 15 of them being reported between Oct. 20 and Nov. 23. Some of the counties that have been affected include Buena Vista, Pocahontas and Clay Counties.

Bird flu last year cost U.S. poultry producers nearly 59 million birds across 47 states, including egg-laying chickens and turkeys and chickens raised for meat, making it the country’s deadliest outbreak ever, according to USDA figures. The outbreak caused spikes in egg and turkey prices for consumers and cost the government over $660 million.

Iowa was the hardest-hit state last year, with nearly 16 million birds lost. In fact, since March 3, 2022, agriculture officials have confirmed nine different cases of bird flu in Buena Vista County.

Signs of Bird Flu may include:

· Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs
· Lethargy and/or lack of energy and appetite
· Decrease in egg production
· Soft, thin-shelled and/or misshapen eggs
· Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
· Purple/blue discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs
· Difficulty breathing
· Coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge (runny nose)
· Stumbling and/or falling down
· Diarrhea

Possible cases are required to be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305.

Officials say poultry products are still safe to eat as bird flu infections are relatively rare in humans and aren’t considered a food safety risk. As a reminder, consumers should always utilize the proper handling and cooking of eggs and poultry products, including cooking to an internal temperature of 165˚F.

(Courtesy fellow Community First Broadcasting station KSOU in Sioux Center and Media Partner KTIV-TV)


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