Home 5 Ag Stories HPAI discovered in small Iowa flock, but no lockdowns yet

HPAI discovered in small Iowa flock, but no lockdowns yet

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It’s been one week since the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship confirmed that we had our first positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) this fall in Dallas County. It’s the first case that’s been reported since May 2nd. It confirms something that we’ve been afraid of for the last few weeks, and that is the possible return of bird flu in our state.

Just like in 2015, the disease has been spread by migratory birds throughout agricultural flocks in the state. Unlike in 2015, we got through the springtime relatively unscathed. That’s not to say bird flocks weren’t put down, but it is to say that the number of affected birds was much lower. Also, unlike in 2015, we are dealing with the disease for a second time with migratory birds. The first time around, we only dealt with it in the springtime in early summer, and then it was gone. The second go-round has people fearing that this year could be worse than 2015. We are seeing more diagnoses around the country than we did in 2015, but now we know what to do with it.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig sat down with me to talk about the situation we find ourselves in right now. He says that they were hopeful that we’d be spending this time of the year going through another list of lessons learned from the second outbreak that came this spring. However, we’re having to do that while adding more lessons that may be happening this fall.

Also, unlike earlier this year, we’re not worried about major exhibitions that will have poultry attending. In the spring, we were looking forward to county and State Fair season. Therefore, at that time, IDALS put a quarantine in place for all poultry at exhibitions and fairs. Thankfully, we hit the 30-day moratorium without a new case of avian influenza, and we were able to have birds at the various fairs. This time around, we don’t have many poultry exhibitions to look forward to. Therefore, Secretary Naig says there is no plan to put any kind of quarantine in place at this time. At least not while there’s only been one isolated occurrence of avian influenza.

The secretary urges poultry producers to keep their eyes and ears open for both avian influenza in their flocks and for future declarations by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.