Life after avian flu in Iowa

Iowa begins to lift control zones and restock farms after massive avian flu outbreak.

Iowa was one of the hardest hit states in this year’s avian influenza outbreak. Nearly all of the control zones have been lifted in the state and restocking of birds is underway.

Since April 13, 2015, there has been 77 total premises and 34 million birds affected with H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza in Iowa. There are 35 commercial turkey flocks, 22 commercial egg production flocks, 13 pullet flocks, 1 breeding flock for a mail order hatchery, and 6 backyard flocks.

Depopulation and disposal has been completed at all 77 premises. Sixteen sites have completed the cleaning and disinfection process.  Four sites are now eligible for repopulation.

Brad Moline, owner and operator of a turkey farm near Mason, Iowa, hosted a news conference Monday to highlight actions he’s taken and the restocking of his flock that began July 31.

One of Moline’s farm, identified as Calhoun 1, was confirmed to have HPAI on May 19.  This farm has six barns that hold 28,800 brooder poults (0 to 5 weeks of age) and 14,400 finisher turkeys (5 weeks to 20 weeks of age). 

Control zone lifting

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is in the process of lifting 69 of the 77 control zones that were established around premises in Iowa infected with HPAI.  The 10 kilometer control zone was established around each site with a confirmed case of HPAI.

All premises that had poultry that were located within a 10 kilometer control zone surrounding an infected site were quarantined and all movement of poultry and poultry products, feed, fuel, etc. in and out of those quarantined non-infected premises had to be permitted by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

In addition, all premises containing poultry infected with HPAI were quarantined.  This announcement does not affect the status of any premise that had a confirmed case of avian influenza; it only impacts those sites that were not infected but were within the 10 kilometer control zone.

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To be eligible for the control zone to be lifted 60 days must have elapsed since the poultry located on the infected premises that caused the control zone to be established were depopulated or 21 days must have elapsed since cleaning and disinfection were completed on the infected premise.

There have been 18 counties with at least one control zone and now there will only be control zones remaining on six farms in three counties.  These farms are located in Adair, Sioux and Wright counties.

Ongoing response

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) currently has 54 staff members in Iowa assisting in the response.  In addition, more than 1,900 federal contract personnel are in Iowa.

More than 300 state employees have also participated in the disaster response at some point. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Public Health (in conjunction with local public health officials), Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Department of Transportation, and Iowa National Guard have all supported the response effort to this disease.  Numerous local and county government employees and officials have also provided support and assisted in the response to the disease.

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