One million more Iowa birds found with bird flu


Via Flickr

Grace Smith | November 10, 2022

Avian influenza, a deadly virus caused by infection, was confirmed in two more Iowa bird flocks, consisting of over one million egg-laying chickens in Wright County, per an Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship report on Monday. The bird flu was also detected in 17 birds in Louisa County.

Monday’s confirmation of the bird flu is Wright County’s second outbreak. On Oct. 31, 1.1 million egg-laying hens were infected with the flu. Four flocks in Iowa are now confirmed to have been infected with avian influenza. This year, 23 flocks have been affected by the bird flu. Over 15.4 million birds in Iowa have died from the bird flu or were killed to minimize infection, making Iowa the hardest-hit state by the bird flu than any other state this year.

“Migration is expected to continue for several more weeks and whether you have backyard birds or a commercial poultry farm, bolstering your biosecurity continues to be the best way to protect your flock from this disease,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said in a statement. “Our coordinated response team, comprised of state and federal professionals working with the affected producers, will continue to move swiftly to limit the spread of this virus.”’

Iowa’s 20th case of bird flu found in backyard flock


Chicken
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | October 25, 2022

Bird flu has been detected in a backyard flock in Dallas County. The flock consists of 48 birds of a variety of species. 

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced the infection Thursday, with Iowa’s Agriculture Secretary, Mike Naig saying, “It is not unexpected that we would face additional highly pathogenic avian influenza challenges in Iowa given that the fall migration is underway, and many other states have recently announced confirmed cases.”  

This is the first detection since last May. However, in September hunters found a few birds containing the virus. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is working with other organizations to keep the birds safe and free from contamination.  

Overall, about 13.5 million birds have been found to have bird flu in Iowa. The virus is expected to last through this year and possibly next. According to Yuko Sato, a poultry extension veterinarian and diagnostician at Iowa State University, “It’s here to stay until it clears itself out. Might not be this year. Might be next year.” 

Bird flu arises in Midwest states during migration


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Grace Smith | October 11, 2022

The large number of birds migrating south for the winter may be transmitting avian influenza, a deadly virus caused by infection. Although it has not been confirmed, two dead wild geese in September and three ducks shot by hunters in August all had the bird flu in Iowa. 

The bird flu dates back to 1878 which started in northern Italy and was referred to as the “fowl plague.” In the spring of 2022, the bird flu wiped out 22,851,072 birds in at least 24 states. The spring was the worst famine outbreak since 2015 when over 50 million birds died. The outbreak and inflation drove up prices for eggs, chicken meat, and other products. 

“We are certainly aware of the cases showing up in other states and are monitoring the situation closely,” Don McDowell, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, said to the Iowa Capital Dispatch. “Because migration is beginning again and given that this is caused by migratory and wild birds, it would not be unexpected that there could be additional cases this fall.”

With over 450 birds expected to continue migrating south through the U.S., the most heightened intensities of migration are likely to come through the Midwest.

The 2022 Bird Flu May Be Less Impactful than 2015, According to Vilsack


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Josie Taylor | April 7, 2022

The effects of the deadly and highly contagious bird flu outbreaks in the United States are expected to be less than those of 2015, when more than 50 million birds were culled, according to Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

“In terms of the nature of the outbreaks, the size of the operations that have been impacted, the number of states that are dealing with backyard operations as opposed to commercial-sized operations, would strongly suggest that when this is all said and done it’s going to be significantly less than what we experienced in 2014-15,” Vilsack said on Tuesday in a call with reporters. 

Vilsack said stricter security measures at poultry facilities and heightened containment efforts after virus detections have reduced the potential for infections and the risk of transporting the virus from one facility to another

Chloe Carson, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, is not as confident because it is still early in the migration season. Carson said no site-to-site infections have been detected in Iowa.  

Flock of turkeys in Buena Vista County test positive for bird flu


Turkey
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Elyse Gabor | March 15, 2022

Tests confirmed that a flock of 50,000 turkeys was infected with the bird flu early last week. According to the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the highly contagious and deadly disease caused the turkeys to be slaughtered in Buena Vista County. The virus was likely to have come from wild birds migrating through the state. 

This was the second time the disease had affected birds in a week. The first outbreak was detected in Pottawattamie Country in a small backyard flock of chickens and ducks. Poultry facilities near the Buena Vista site are being watched as well as 37 backyard flocks. 

The turkeys will be buried near the Buena Vista site to reduce the spread of the disease. 

Iowa State’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig warned that it is a time of caution, saying, “It is critically important that livestock producers and their veterinarians closely monitor the health of their animals.” 

The last outbreak occurred in 2015, causing the slaughter of more than 30 million birds in the state. Naig said that in order to avoid a similar scenario, it is essential to have early detections and swift responses. 

Bird flu damages estimated at $1 billion for Iowa, Minn


Iowa leads the nation in egg production. (Phil Roeder/Flickr)
Iowa leads the nation in egg production. (Phil Roeder/Flickr)

Nick Fetty | May 19, 2015

Estimates released Monday show that the recent bird flu outbreak is expected to cause a $1 billion loss in the economies of two of the countries biggest poultry producers: Iowa and Minnesota.

The Hawkeye State alone has lost about 20 million egg-laying chickens, more than one third of the state’s total, and economic losses are estimated around $600 million. These loses affect “feed suppliers, trucking companies, and processing plants.” Thus far the outbreak has been reported in 15 different states and cases reported in Iowa and Minnesota are expected to increase.

Poultry producers and landfill operators are now struggling with ways to dispose of the contaminated bird caucuses which number around 26 million. Landfill operators in northwest Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota – among the country’s hardest hit regions – have turned away the dead birds out of contamination fears. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Iowa governor Terry Branstad, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, and other top officials have urged landfills to begin accepting birds caucuses before improper disposal leads to odors, flies, and other problems. It may be a year or longer before poultry producers are able to fully recover from this setback.

“They are not going to come back all at once. It’s going to take one to two years for these layer facilities to be back into full production, it’s a gradual process,” said Maro Ibarburu, a business analyst at the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University, during an interview with the Associated Press.

On the Radio: Bird flu leading to cleanup concerns


(Kusabi / Flickr)
(Kusabi / Flickr)

May 18, 2015

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at environmental concerns brought on by the massive bird flu cleanup across the state. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Transcript: Bird flu cleanup

The recent bird flu outbreak is raising environmental questions about disposing of millions of dead birds.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Avian influenza has hit Iowa harder than any other state, with almost 25 million chickens and turkeys affected so far. The disease is known to claim a bird’s life within hours of showing symptoms, and is extremely pathogenic. The only way to stop the spread of the disease is to euthanize entire flocks, using a foam application that asphyxiates the birds.

This mass euthanization is leading to a disposal crisis in affected counties. While composting the dead birds is the quickest option, the process may pose risk for local health and water quality. The USDA has deployed hundreds of bio-bags capable of killing the virus until the birds can be moved to sanitary landfills, but concerns from nearby farmers have prevented movement of the birds so far. The only remaining option may be incineration.

For continued updates on the Iowa bird flu outbreak, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

http://www.agrinews.com/news/minnesota_news/bird-flu-shows-no-signs-of-abating/article_424c056f-7a0e-539f-a1e8-43edb1df49fc.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-23/bird-flu-scourge-means-two-month-cleanup-for-u-s-turkey-victims