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HPAI detected in a flock of commercial laying hens in Sioux County

STRENGTHEN BIOSECURITY…

HPAI is often fatal to domestic bird populations

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have discovered a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a flock of commercial laying hens in Sioux County, Iowa. (USDA, Lance Cheung)

DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have discovered a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Sioux County, Iowa. The affected location is a flock of commercial laying hens.

HPAI is a viral disease that affects wild and domestic bird populations as well as lactating dairy cattle. HPAI can travel in wild birds without the birds appearing sick, but is often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. With supportive care, the dairy cattle recover with little to no mortality due to the disease.

Increased biosecurity

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship strongly encourages Iowa poultry producers and dairy farmers to strengthen their biosecurity practices and protocols to protect their flocks. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has biosecurity recommendations that dairy herds can use. In addition, the ministry has numerous other sources of information on biosecurity for poultry farmers and livestock farms on its website. Farmers or farm workers who have regular contact with both dairy and poultry, or who have frequent contact with other farm workers in the poultry or dairy sectors, should take extra precautions to limit possible transmissions.

Suspicious cases in poultry

If poultry farmers or producers with backyard birds suspect signs of HPAI, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. Possible cases should also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305.

Clinical signs of HPAI in birds may include:

  • Sudden increase in bird mortality without any clinical symptoms
  • Lethargy and/or lack of energy and appetite
  • Decrease in egg production
  • Soft, thin and/or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles and hocks
  • Purple/blue discoloration of the wattles, comb and legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing, sneezing and/or runny nose (runny nose)
  • Stumbling and/or falling
  • Diarrhea

Suspected HPAI cases in dairy

If dairy farmers suspect cases of HPAI, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. Possible cases should also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305. The USDA federal order regulating the interstate movement of lactating dairy cattle remains in effect.

Clinical signs of HPAI in dairy may include:

  • Reduction in food consumption with a simultaneous decrease in rumination
  • Clear nasal discharge
  • Decrease in milk production
  • Sticky or loose stools
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Thicker, concentrated, colostrum-like milk

Food safety and HPAI

It remains safe to enjoy poultry products. As a reminder, consumers should always handle and cook eggs and poultry products properly, including cooking to an internal temperature of 165˚F. It is a long-standing practice that only milk from healthy animals should enter the food supply. There are no concerns about the safety of pasteurized milk or dairy products. Pasteurization has been consistently proven to successfully inactivate bacteria and viruses, such as influenza, in milk.

Public health

Although recent cases of HPAI have been confirmed in dairy workers in Texas and Michigan, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to believe the threat to humans remains low.

Commercial and backyard HPAI detections in Iowa

Date District Kind of herd
3/1/22 Pottawattamie Backyard mixed species
6-3-22 Buena Vista Commercial Turkey
3/10/22 Taylor Commercial laying hens
17-3-22 Buena Vista Commercial laying hens
20/3/22 Warren Backyard mixed species
23/3/22 Buena Vista Commercial Turkey
25/3/22 Franklin Commercial pullets
3/28/22 Hamilton Commercial Turkey
3/28/22 Guthrie Commercial laying hens
3/29/22 Buena Vista Commercial Turkey
31/3/22 Osceola Commercial laying hens
31/3/22 Cherokee Commercial Turkey
4/2/22 Bag Commercial Turkey
4/2/22 Humboldt Commercial breeding chickens
4/4/22 Hamilton Commercial Turkey
4/5/22 Hardin Commercial Turkey
4/20/22 Bremer Commercial Turkey
22/4/22 Kossuth Backyard mixed species
5/2/22 Bremer Backyard mixed species
20/10/22 Dallas Backyard mixed species
10/31/22 Wright Commercial laying hens
7-11-22 Louisa Backyard mixed species
7-11-22 Wright Commercial laying hens
12/2/22 Buena Vista Commercial Turkey
12/6/22 Bag Commercial Turkey
12/6/22 Cherokee Commercial Turkey
12/9/22 Bag Commercial Turkey
12/11/22 Buena Vista Commercial Turkey
12/11/22 Cherokee Commercial Turkey
12/12/22 Ida Commercial Turkey
1/25/23 Buena Vista Commercial Turkey
14-3-23 Chick saw Backyard mixed species
20/10/23 Buena Vista Commercial Turkey
23-10-23 Pocahontas Commercial Turkey
23-10-23 Guthrie Backyard mixed species
31-10-23 Buena Vista Commercial Turkey
3-11-23 Clay Wild bird ducks and mixed species in the backyard
3-11-23 Clay Wild bird ducks
3-11-23 Clay Wild bird ducks
3-11-23 Hamilton Commercial breeding chickens
7-11-23 Kossuth Game bird pheasants, peacock and commercial laying hens
11/10/23 Taylor Commercial laying hens
11/10/23 Jones Backyard mixed species
11/11/23 Kossuth Game birds Pheasants, quails and chukars
11/11/23 Cerro Gordo Backyard mixed species
15/11/23 Bent over Backyard mixed species
11/23/23 Sioux Commercial laying hens
29-11-23 Woodbury Backyard mixed species
29-11-23 Woodbury Backyard mixed species
12/6/23 Mills Backyard mixed species
19/12/23 Mahaska Backyard mixed species
28/05/24 Sioux Commercial laying hens

About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Under the leadership of Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Management serves the rural and urban residents who call Iowa home. Through its 14 different agencies, the ministry ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our lands and improve water quality for the next generation. More information can be found at iowaagriculture.gov.

—Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Management

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