New Bird Flu Cases Reported in U.S.; Iowa Producers Concerned

Mar 13, 2017

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the state’s poultry producers are reviewing their biosecurity measures now that new cases of avian flu have been reported in other states.   

The disease caused millions of dollars in losses in Iowa in 2015, with the destruction of as many as 31 million birds.  

“We have seen this new case in Tennessee, and a couple low-pathogenic cases in Tennessee and Wisconsin,” Northey said.     “I'm sure everybody's checking their biosecurity plans again.”

Everybody's concerned. -Ag Secy Bill Northey

Before and after the 2015 outbreak, poultry producers adopted biosecurity measures such as truckwashes and limiting access to farms.  

"Facilities now maybe are shower-in-shower-out facilities," Northey said. 

But Northey says there's no guarantee a producer can keep the disease off the farm. 

“It's obviously in the Mississippi flyway right now in some wild birds, whether it's a few or a lot, none of us know,” Northey said.   “But everybody's concerned.”

“We want to be very careful,” Gov. Branstad said.   “We learned some valuable lessons from what we went through two years ago.”

Iowa did not adopt new biosecurity standards after the 2015 outbreak.  

There is no concrete proof of how bird flu spread so far and so rapidly, but it’s widely believed humans played a large role in spreading the disease across the Midwest. 

Northey stresses that while producers are vigilant about the health of their stock, food safety is not a concern.