A strain of bird flu that’s particularly deadly to chickens and turkeys is now confirmed in three states that border Iowa. Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association and Egg Council, says while the disease has mostly hit turkey flocks elsewhere, poultry producers statewide need to be vigilant about biosecurity to prevent spreading the disease.
“It’s one that our producers are very cognizant of, they’ve been very concerned about biosecurity protocols,” Olson says. “It’s important to known there’s no human health consequence to this disease but it’s very consequential to a commercial operation that has an infection.” Olson says Iowa producers with backyard flocks need to especially be on the lookout for the disease, known as H5N2, and take precautions.
“We’re encouraging anybody with backyard flocks to be very diligent in your biosafety protocols,” Olson says, “You shouldn’t be allowing your birds to mix with migratory waterfowl. Keep them indoors if possible. It’s a very serious disease that causes a rapid increase of mortality.” This bird flu strain is confirmed in several states, including Minnesota, South Dakota and Missouri. Iowa is the nation’s leading egg-producing state with 60-million laying hens that produced 16 and a half billion eggs in 2014.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)