DES MOINES, 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, Iowa. The virus was found in a commercial turkey flock.
On March 1, 2022, a positive case was also confirmed in a backyard, non-commercial flock in Pottawattamie County.
According to the National Turkey Federation, Iowa is the nation’s 7th largest turkey producer.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) said the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. It remains safe to eat poultry products. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses.
“The Iowa Department of Agriculture and USDA APHIS are working diligently with producers to trace back, control and eradicate this disease from our state,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said. “Protecting the health of our livestock and Iowa’s agriculture-based economy are our 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 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 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
Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Buena Vista County in response to the positive case that will be in effect until April 5, 2022.
This proclamation allows state resources from the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and other agencies to assist with tracking and monitoring, rapid detection, containment, disposal, and disinfection. The proclamation also waives regulatory provisions related to commercial vehicles responding to affected sites.