Bird flu (HPAI) has returned to Iowa this fall. This is much different than the outbreak in 2015, when we only saw an outbreak during the spring migration, that lasted until early summer. This year we are getting hit by the virus during both migration periods. The spread of the virus back into the state has led to IDALS taking strong precautions for the second time this year.
Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig talks about the situation we find ourselves in right now. He also shares concerns that this may not be the last time we have to deal with HPAI as we look to spring of 2023.
This has again prompted the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to reinstate the moratorium on bird exhibitions that we saw this past spring. This means that the hiatus lasts until we have gone thirty days without a new case of HPAI in the state. Naig says even though we aren’t seeing fairs, there are still opportunities to spread the disease, and they want every precaution taken. However, he also wants to clarify what that means.
Naig talks about the fact that obviously this is different than the 2015 HPAI strain, because we are seeing it hang around. There is much to be learned from this strain we face this year. He also says that poultry producers know that like with any animal disease, you always assume that unfamiliar animals may be carrying something your farm doesn’t want. Unlike with other animal diseases, we cannot stop birds and check them at the border.
With the Thanksgiving holiday coming next week, Naig wants to reassure consumers that their products are always going to be safe. This isn’t just for Thanksgiving, but the whole year round.