Avian Flu Confirmed In Buena Vista County

Storm Lake, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have confirmed a positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Buena Vista County, here in northwest Iowa. The virus was found in a commercial turkey flock.

Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig says the Iowa Department of Agriculture and USDA APHIS are working diligently with producers to trace back, control and eradicate the disease from the state. Naig says protecting the health of livestock and Iowa’s agriculture-based economy are their top priorities.

If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. Possible cases should also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture at (515) 281-5305.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual deaths to state/federal officials. Practicing good on-farm biosecurity is the best way to keep livestock healthy. Biosecurity resources and best practices are available at iowaagriculture.gov/biosecurity.

HPAI is a highly contagious, viral disease affecting bird populations. It can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick, but is often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. The virus can spread through droppings or nasal discharge of an infected bird, which can contaminate dust and soil. 

Signs of HPAI include: 

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