Bird Flu Hits First Nebraska Farm

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More than 32.5 million birds will be eradicated across the U.S. to curb the spread of avian influenza, including more than 22 million laying hens here in Iowa.

Yesterday the Iowa Department of Agriculture confirmed H5-N2 avian flu in a broiler farm in Osceola county, along with three more possible cases in northwest Iowa.

Iowa now has a total of 44 confirmed infections and 5 probable cases.

Bird flu has also now spread to neighboring Nebraska, which confirmed its first case yesterday at a commercial laying operation with more than 1.5 million layer hens.

Those birds make up just under 20 percent of all the egg-laying hens in Nebraska, and state Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach says that’s in spite of producers’ best efforts to keep it out.

He says, ”Most operations think they’re operating at their maximum biosecurity level and they may be and so that’s what’s frustrating about this diagnosis is that it’s managed to find its way into a poultry flock here in Nebraska even with all the extra measures we’ve been taking.”

Ibach expects more infections in his state, and encourages owners of backyard flocks to take biosecurity seriously, ”Make sure that they don’t move them around or take them to other locations or bring in new birds at this time, probably sit tight. If they can protect them from contact with wild birds, that would probably be a good idea. Be extra vigilant, and if they do suspect that their birds are sick or that they are dying at an unexpected rate, they should either notify their veterinarian or the department, and be tested so we can make sure that we try to control and contain the disease in flocks of all different sizes.”

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