Iowa on high alert after 2 more outbreaks of bird flu

There’s growing fear over an economic disaster in Iowa’s agriculture industry now that two more counties have reported cases of the highly contagious bird flu. The United States Department of Agriculture said 1.5 million chickens in Guthrie County and 28,000 turkeys in Hamilton County will be destroyed. In all, 8.2 million birds have been destroyed in the past month. Iowa’s top Ag leader said the state is on heightened alert in its battle with the virus. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said they learned a lot of lessons from a similar bird flu outbreak in 2015. Still, millions of birds will likely be put down across the state to keep the flu from spreading. “It’s devastating. You’re talking about a farmer’s livelihood,” Naig said. Experts said wild birds are to blame for spreading the disease to domestic birds. “So those birds as they’re migrating north and you’re hearing them and you’re seeing them fly and they move north they are carrying this virus,” Naig said. The Iowa Dept of Agriculture immediately brought in a USDA incident management team to respond to reports of sick birds. In most cases, entire flocks—sometimes millions of birds—must be destroyed to prevent bird flu from spreading. Farmers do get compensation, but it’s still a severe blow to their operations. There is one bit of good news. “There is no known human health impact here. The CDC is not aware of any interaction between human contracting this so there is no human health concern,” Naig said. There are also no food safety concerns. “We don’t allow these infected birds to enter the food supply so there is an added layer of safety there as well,” Naig said. the USDA has prepared. And the Iowa Dept. of Agriculture has prepared. That doesn’t make it easy, but we now what to do,” Naig said. Naig says he’s hoping for warmer weather to speed up wild bird migration. If not, he said the next two months could see the bird flu continue to spread.

There’s growing fear over an economic disaster in Iowa’s agriculture industry now that two more counties have reported cases of the highly contagious bird flu.

The United States Department of Agriculture said 1.5 million chickens in Guthrie County and 28,000 turkeys in Hamilton County will be destroyed.

In all, 8.2 million birds have been destroyed in the past month.

Iowa’s top Ag leader said the state is on heightened alert in its battle with the virus. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said they learned a lot of lessons from a similar bird flu outbreak in 2015. Still, millions of birds will likely be put down across the state to keep the flu from spreading.

“It’s devastating. You’re talking about a farmer’s livelihood,” Naig said.

The bird flu first began appearing on Iowa farms about a month ago. Experts said wild birds are to blame for spreading the disease to domestic birds.

“So those birds as they’re migrating north and you’re hearing them and you’re seeing them fly and they move north they are carrying this virus,” Naig said.

The Iowa Dept of Agriculture immediately brought in a USDA incident management team to respond to reports of sick birds. In most cases, entire flocks—sometimes millions of birds—must be destroyed to prevent bird flu from spreading.

Farmers do get compensation, but it’s still a severe blow to their operations. There is one bit of good news.

“There is no known human health impact here. The CDC is not aware of any interaction between human contracting this so there is no human health concern,” Naig said.

There are also no food safety concerns.

“We don’t allow these infected birds to enter the food supply so there is an added layer of safety there as well,” Naig said.

The bird flu battle could be long and expensive, but Naig said they’re prepared.

“The industry has prepared; the USDA has prepared. And the Iowa Dept. of Agriculture has prepared. That doesn’t make it easy, but we now what to do,” Naig said.

Naig says he’s hoping for warmer weather to speed up wild bird migration. If not, he said the next two months could see the bird flu continue to spread.

.

Leave a Comment