BUENA VISTA COUNTY, Iowa – The spread of bird flu across the Mississippi flyway finally reached Iowa. Highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza was found in a commercial turkey flock in Buena Vista County. It was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
APHIS is working with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) on a joint incident response. The infected property has been quarantined and the birds there will be euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease. No birds from the flock will enter the food system.
Iowa is a top ten producer of turkey and the number one producer of eggs. States found with bird flu confirmations have received some export bans from countries. So far, those bans have been on a county-by-county level.
Bird flu is financially disastrous to turkey producers. There is little to no insurance that covers a flock.
Minnesota is the largest turkey producer in the nation and has had multiple breakouts of avian influenza. Its State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann believes bird flu transferred between Asia and U.S. bird flyway intersections, which mixed with Mississippi flyway birds. He says the virus is particularly lethal to turkeys.
IDALS says all bird owners should practice good biosecurity.
The virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick or dead birds. However, the Center for Disease Control finds avian influenza risk to people to be low. There have been no human infections detected at this time.