Although we’ve seen a decline in the number of new farms reporting HPAI H5 infection across the upper Midwest, the avian virus continues to impact additional farms in Iowa, and even states that haven’t reported a new cases in several days dare not relax.
It is hoped that warmer weather will continue to diminish the avian flu threat over the summer, but what comes next fall and winter is anyone’s guess.
Which is why Iowa announced yesterday that they will join Minnesota, New York, and several other states which have already decided to prohibit the display, trade, or sale of poultry at state and county fairs and other public venues through the end of 2015.
Excerpts from the official statement follow:
Fairs, livestock auctions, swap meet and exotic sales will not include birds
DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today announced an order to cancel all live bird exhibitions at county fairs, the Iowa State Fair, and other gatherings of birds due to avian influenza. The Department’s order begins immediately, is effective through the end of 2015, and also prohibits live birds from being sold at livestock auction markets, swap meets and exotic sales.
Iowa has over 25 million birds and more than 60 farms impacted by H5N2 highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The purpose of the Department’s directive is to minimize the risk of potential further spread of the virus to other poultry. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health consider the risk to the public related to HPAI H5 infections to be very low. No human infections of the virus have ever been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.
“We are asking producers and bird owners to increase their biosecurity measures and we feel this is a needed step to further minimize the risk of spreading the virus,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "The scale of this outbreak has been unprecedented, so we think it is important we take every possible step to limit the chance that this disease will spread any further."
With more on all of this, plus concerns over media reports of lax biosecurity at some farms and a recap of recent outbreaks in Iowa, CIDRAP News Editor Robert Roos penned the following report last night.
May 21, 2015
Iowa state officials today announced a ban on live-bird shows and some sales for the rest of this year in an effort to stop the spread of avian flu, and followed up by reporting another chicken outbreak, which followed two turkey outbreaks announced yesterday.
Meanwhile, a Reuters story today said that on the basis of a reporter's experience, recommended biosecurity measures were not being enforced at several farms in northwestern Iowa, where the state's outbreaks are concentrated.
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