Iowa’s new state veterinarian says the state’s making preparations for any outbreak of bird flu. Acting State Veterinarian David Schmitt says the Iowa State Department of Agriculture has a plan in place, including outreach to the state’s chicken producers.
Schmitt says they inspect the state’s chick dealers and hatcheries, put up posters and tell operators about Exotic Newcastle Disease as well as “high-pathogenic” avian influenza, and make sure they know that if there’s a sign of disease outbreak they’re to call his office and the U-S-D-A state veterinarian in charge.
He says there’s an Iowa poultry emergency disease plan in place, created with input from the industry, to deal with bird flu and Exotic Newcastle, another serious poultry ailment. The U-S-D-A has also recently issued a draft plan the state’s reviewing, and the state vet has met with other agencies.
Schmitt says the D-N-R’s looking at proposals to try and monitor migrating birds that might carry the virus, but that’s not the focus of the agriculture department.
Schmitt says the agriculture department’s involved with the livestock industry, and says it’s been pro-cative in bio-security. The state has procedures in place to sample birds in large turkey, broiler and egg-laying operations.
Schmitt says they’ve been taking test samples for the last couple years. He says as of last November, more than 19-thousand samples had already been collected from Iowa’s commercial poultry operations and all had been negative for the strains of avian influenza considered dangerous in the current outbreak in Asia.