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Bird flu virus detected in Iowa dairy herd for first time

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - 6/5/2024

DES MOINES – State officials have detected bird flu virus in an Iowa dairy herd for the first time.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service detected a case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in O’Brien County. Final confirmatory testing is pending at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames.

The affected farm is a dairy herd, and it is Iowa’s first reported case of HPAI within a dairy. To date, APHIS has confirmed over 80 dairy cases on farms in South Dakota, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, Kansas, Idaho and Colorado.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will soon be announcing additional response measures.

Additionally, genomic sequencing of the virus that was detected at the Sioux County farm announced May 28 was determined by the NVSL in Ames to be consistent with the variant identified in affected dairies in other states. Sequencing is not yet completed on the virus detected at a recent turkey flock in Cherokee County or this dairy in O’Brien County. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing to try to determine how the virus was introduced into the flocks and herd.

“Given the spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa. While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry. Our team at the department has been preparing for this possibility and will soon be announcing additional response steps to protect our flocks and herds,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Poultry producers and dairy farmers should immediately take steps to harden their biosecurity defenses, limit unnecessary visitors, and report symptomatic birds or cattle to the Department. This remains an evolving situation and we will continue to be in close communication with stakeholders, USDA, and other states as we evaluate our response. Our top priority is to protect our livestock and the farmers and people who care for them.”

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(c)2024 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)

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