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Bird flu detected on Iowa poultry farm

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service have discovered a case of highly pathogenic bird flu in Sioux County, Iowa.

The affected location is a flock of commercial laying hens. It was the first reported case since November 2023.

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 department has numerous other biosecurity resources for poultry producers and livestock farms to access 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 cases in the dairy sector

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.

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