Late yesterday afternoon the Iowa Department of Agriculture released a statement (see Iowa: Four `Probable’ HPAI H5 Farms Quarantined), announcing `probable’ infections at four farms, encompassing 2.3 million birds. A few hours later, they revised that statement to five farms, with the addition of a second farm in Sioux County, involving another 3.8 million birds.
While having only a fraction of the number of infected farms as Minnesota (last count =55), Iowa – with nearly 10 million birds affected – has seen the greatest poultry losses to date.
The revised press release (FIVE PROBABLE CASES OF HIGHLY PATHOGENIC AVIAN INFLUENZA IN OSCEOLA, O’BRIEN AND SIOUX COUNTIES) adds the following information.
Sioux County 2 – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 3.8 million birds that has experienced increased mortality. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.
According to the Iowa Agriculture’s Avian Influenza site, the 10 million layers affected in the state represent nearly 1/6th of the state’s total layer population. This outbreak affects more than just infected farms, as many countries have either banned, or placed restrictions on the U.S. Poultry exports.
Iowa Poultry Production
- In March 2015, Iowa had 59.5 million egg layer chickens (16% of national stocks) in 3,821 laying facilities
- A typical layer hen weighs between 3–4 pounds, with an average weight 3.6 – 3.7 pounds.
- The laying period begins at 18-20 weeks old and is productive for approximately two years
- The accepted industry value is $1.50 per productive laying hen
- 16.5 billion eggs produced annually (17% of national production)
- In March 2015, Iowa layers produced 1.41 billion eggs – or 0.77 eggs per hen per day
- Raise over 11 million turkeys (9th in US turkey production) in about 200 farm sites
- At least 30 countries have placed restrictions on U.S. poultry exports:
- Ban on all US poultry products: China, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand
- Limited restrictions on poultry products from individual States: Japan, Mexico, Taiwan
- Limited restrictions to counties in individual States: Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the European Union \
For an excellent roundup of yesterday’s avian flu news, I heartily recommend the end-of-day wrap up by Robert Roos and Lisa Schnirring of CIDRAP NEWS , whose report Avian flu hits more farms in Iowa, Minnesota provides the latest stats, and excellent background information as well.