State says nearly 100,000 turkeys being depopulated.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

October 23, 2023

2 Min Read
Getty Images/ iStock

A little over one week after Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig reiterated the need to be on alert about the reemergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have confirmed two positive cases of the virus in two commercial turkey flocks.

A flock of approximately 50,000 birds is affected in Buena Vista County and a flock of 47,500 birds is affected in Pocahontas County, IDALS told Feedstuffs.

The virus has also been confirmed in a backyard flock in Guthrie County.

“Unfortunately, highly pathogenic avian influenza continues to be an active threat to our state’s turkey producers, egg layers, and backyard flocks. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant, review their biosecurity plans and ensure they are fully implemented,” Naig said. “Prevention of disease is always our goal, but should we face new cases, our team at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, working jointly with USDA and industry partners, is ready to swiftly respond.”

IDALS said commercial and backyard flock owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and sick birds or unusual deaths among birds should be immediately reported to state or federal officials.  

HPAI is highly contagious and can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. However, it is often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. The virus can spread through the droppings or the nasal discharge of an infected bird, both of which can contaminate dust and soil.

Signs of HPAI may include:

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs

  • Lethargy and/or lack of energy and appetite

  • Decrease in egg production

  • Soft, thin-shelled 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 nasal discharge (runny nose)

  • Stumbling and/or falling down

  • Diarrhea

Additional information is available from APHIS here.


About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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