Naig Seeking Federal Aid For Dairy Operations Hit By Bird Flu

Northwest Iowa — State Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig is asking the USDA to compensate dairy operations struck by bird flu. Naig says it’s a typical move when there’s an animal disease outbreak that leads to the loss of livestock or production.

Modern dairy operations have all sorts of ways to monitor cows, including how much they eat and how much milk is produced daily. Naig says those sick cattle are then isolated from the rest of the herd.

Bird flu has been confirmed among cows at dairy operations in Sioux and O’Brien Counties. A team of USDA veterinarians is in Iowa this week, trying to determine what might be the connection among poultry and dairy operations that recently have been hit by bird flu.

Naig says it will hopefully identify how the virus is moving and help develop new biosecurity strategies for poultry and dairy operations. When bird flu was first confirmed at poultry farms and in backyard flocks nine years ago, testing was done in nearby poultry operations to try to contain the virus. Now, both dairy farms and poultry operations near a bird flu outbreak are included in testing protocols.

Dr. Jeff Kaisand — the State Veterinarian — says they don’t yet know how bird flu is transmitted from cow to cow within a herd, but there is a key sign a dairy operation has cows infected with the virus.

Kaisand briefed a state legislative committee at the Iowa Capitol Tuesday. The state vet says once bird flu has been confirmed in a dairy operation, workers are advised to wear protective gear, like face masks and public health officials ask the owner of the dairy to monitor the health of their employees.

While no cases of bird flu in humans have been reported IN IOWA, three dairy workers in other states recently have been infected with the virus after working around sick cows.


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