Avian influenza confirmed in commercial and backyard Iowa flocks
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 positive cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Louisa County, Iowa, and in Wright County, Iowa.
The virus was found in a non-commercial backyard flock in Louisa County and a commercial layer flock in Wright County.
“Migration is expected to continue for several more weeks, and whether you have backyard birds or a commercial poultry farm, bolstering your biosecurity continues to be the best way to protect your flock from this disease,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Our coordinated response team, comprised of state and federal professionals working with the affected producers, will continue to move swiftly to limit the spread of this virus.”
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Commercial and backyard flock owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. Sick birds or unusual deaths among birds should be immediately reported to state or federal officials. Biosecurity resources and best practices are available at iowaagriculture.gov/biosecurity. If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks, they should contact their veterinarian immediately.
Possible cases must also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present a public health concern. It remains safe to eat poultry products. As a reminder, consumers should always utilize the proper handling and cooking of eggs and poultry products. An internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses.
HPAI is highly contagious viral disease affecting bird populations. HPAI 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 the 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
- Lethargy and lack of energy and appetite
- Decrease in egg production
- Soft, thin-shelled, 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 or falling down