Iowa Agriculture Discusses Avian Influenza Biosecurity

Lizzy Schultz

iowa ag Earlier this week, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey highlighted the preparations taken place by Iowa poultry farmers, as well as by state and federal governments, to better prepare for another potential outbreak of avian influenza.

“As we approach the first anniversary of avian influenza in Iowa it is important to highlight the steps taken by poultry industry and the state and federal government to prepare to respond even more quickly should we see the disease again. The progress that has been made to recover from this devastating animal health emergency and prepare for any future outbreaks is a testament to the resiliency and commitment of our state’s poultry farmers,” Northey said.

Iowa poultry farmers have updated their biosecurity measures for 2016 and have made significant investments to help prevent the disease from getting onto their operations. All poultry farms must have a biosecurity plan to qualify for USDA indemnification.

The Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University has produced numerous materials to help farmers update biosecurity measures on their farm, and more information on these biosecurity suggestions can be found here.

The H5N2 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak of 2015 has been described by the USDA as the largest animal health emergency in U.S. history. 223 detections of HPAI were found nationwide from Dec. 19, 2014 through June 17, 2015. 48 million birds in 21 states were affected, with the most severe impact occurring in Iowa and Minnesota.

A total of 77 premises in 18 counties and 31.5 million birds were affected with the disease in Iowa, with the first case confirmed on April 14, 2015 on a turkey farm in Buena Vista County. The final case was confirmed on June 17 at layer farm in Wright County. 35 commercial turkey flocks, 22 commercial egg production flocks, 13 pullet flocks, 1 chicken breeding flock, 1 mail order hatchery, and 5 backyard flocks were impacted by the disease in total.

All HPAI quarantines have been lifted and all but one of the 72 commercial poultry farms that had been previously quarantined have begun the restocking process or are fully restocked. To lift the quarantine, all sites were required to complete the necessary cleaning and disinfection process and had receive a negative environmental test. They also underwent a 21 day fallow period following disinfection.