21 Cases of Avian Influenza Previously Announced, 4 More Probable Cases Pending Results
CDC considers the risk to people to be low
DES MOINES –On Friday, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad declared a state of emergency in Iowa to address the spread of avian influenza.
H5-N2 avian flu is not lethal to humans, but it is for birds, and it’s been identified in 12 cases across the state, with another nine cases suspected. In all, more than one quarter of Iowa’s laying hen population is on farms with either confirmed or presumed cases of bird flu.
In response, Branstad issued a statewide disaster proclamation on Friday. His proclamation activates the State Emergency Operation Center under Iowa’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management department, to assemble the different agencies involved.
Announced Monday May 4th, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is responding to four probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in commercial poultry farms in Buena Vista, Cherokee and Wright counties. These four new cases would join 21 cases of the disease in Iowa that were previously announced. State officials have quarantined the premises and once the presence of the disease is confirmed, all birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.
Buena Vista 7 – Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.
Cherokee 2 – Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.
Wright – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 2.8 million birds that has experienced increased mortality. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.
Buena Vista 8 – Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.
As the Department receives final confirmations of the disease updated information will be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/avianinfluenza.asp.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have ever been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.
IOWA CONCERN HOTLINE AVAILABLE TO ADDRESS AVIAN INFLUENZA QUESTIONS
Concerned residents both within and outside the areas affected by avian influenza are encouraged to use the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985 if they have questions. The Iowa Concern Hotline is available 24 hours a day. All calls are free and confidential, and the operators are willing to assist wherever possible.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach operates the hotline and is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Health, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department and Egg Industry Council to provide up-to-date information to Iowans about the disease.
UPDATE ON ACTIVIES OF STATE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN RESPONSE TO AVIAN INFLUENZA
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)
• Quarantined all infected sites
• Subject to facilities implementing nationally approved biosecurity measures, the Dept. permits the movement of materials such as feed and other supplies on and off of infected sites
• Leading efforts to monitor poultry within a 10 kilometer circle of each infected site
• Coordinating state communication efforts on the disease
• Working with federal and state officials to ensure the humane depopulation and disposal of all birds from infected sites
Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department (HSEMD)
• Conducted coordination meetings with IDALS, the governor’s office and other partner agencies to bring all up to date, and to brainstorm planning and coordination needs. Other agencies at the meeting included Iowa Dept. of Public Health, Iowa Dept. of Transportation, Iowa Dept. of Corrections, Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, Iowa Dept. of Public Safety, Iowa National Guard, Iowa Dept. of Human Services, Iowa Dept. of Inspections and Appeals.
• Provide resource support coordination as requested.
• Regularly providing information for situational awareness with county emergency management coordinators.
• Providing support for IDALS communications activities.
Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) – in conjunction with local public health officials
• Shared CDC recommendations on the use of personal protective equipment by persons working directly with sick chickens and carcasses.
• Followed up with workers who had direct contact with sick birds without the use of personal protective equipment.
• Provided sound risk information, making sure the public understands that the virus presents no food safety concern or risk to the general public.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
• The DNR’s primary concern is that disposal methods protect surface water, groundwater and air quality and does not result in further spreading of the AI virus
• Investigating the feasibility and the potential benefits and problems associated with various disposal options including landfilling, composting, incinerating, rendering and burying.
• Looking at potential criteria for emergency air permits if needed for an incineration process.
• Made contacts with several landfills to determine the ability of those operations to take dead poultry as well as being able to wash and disinfect transport vehicles on site.
• Investigating and been in contact with wastewater treatment facilities on the ability to accept and adequately treat leachate produced by any landfill for the AI virus that may take dead poultry.
• Developed solid waste acceptance criteria for landfills willing to accept AI infected poultry.
• Contacted numerous potential sources of wood chips that can be used if composting becomes an option. The wood chips would be used as part of the composting process.
• Prepared maps of infected facilities that show quarantine boundaries and to determine the proximity of other poultry operations and neighbors.
• Investigating the geology involved with operations to determine the optimum potential locations for burial if needed.
• Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct sampling of waterfowl for AI.
Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC)
• Identified staff for surveillance teams.
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS)
• Monitoring for mental health needs.
• Identified staff for surveillance teams.
Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT)
• Hauling water to support USDA operations.
Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS)
• Liaison at Wright County emergency operations center
The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world. As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4) Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.
These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.