Iowa Bird Flu Not A Surprise

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On April 14, the Iowa Department of Agriculture reported the most recent in a string of Midwest bird flu outbreaks, this time in Buena Vista County in Northwest Iowa.

USDA confirmed the infection of a commercial flock of 27,000 turkeys, which will be eradicated to prevent the spread of the disease.

The H5N2 strain of avian influenza cropping up and down the Mississippi Flyway has shown up in South Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin, and in over 20 flocks in Minnesota.

It’s unclear what that will mean for Iowa’s exports; with the earlier outbreaks, countries like Mexico have banned poultry products from only the counties where infections occured. Countries like Canada have opted to ban imports from entire states.

Iowa’s turkey industry already performs blood tests for bird flu on flocks heading to market, and Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says the infection doesn’t come as a surprise.

He says, "It's unfortunate that we're dealing with it now here in Iowa, but it was not completely unexpected that we would deal with it, given that other states in the Midwest, certainly Minnesota to the north has been dealing with this intensely in the past few weeks. And so, the good news is there's well established policies and procedures and plans in place to address that, but we need to respond quickly when it happens here in Iowa."

Currently IDALS is determining how many other operations are in the ten-kilometer quarantine zone around the infected facility, and examining how the commercial birds came to be infected by migratory birds in the first place.