A positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or bird flu, was confirmed today by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

This is the first case to be detected in Iowa this year. The case was detected on a non-commercial backyard flock in Pottawattamie County, Iowa.

Avian influenza is a viral disease that can easily be transmitted from bird to bird.

“We recognize the threat HPAI and other foreign animal diseases pose to Iowa agriculture,” said Secretary Naig in a release from the department. “We have been working with USDA, livestock producers, and other stakeholders to develop, test, and strengthen our foreign animal disease preparedness and response plans since the 2015 HPAI outbreak. While a case like this is not unexpected, we are working with USDA and other partners to implement our plans and protect the health of poultry flocks in Iowa.”

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Bird owners, whether they be commercial or backyard flock owners, are reminded to practice good on-farm biosecurity to help mitigate the spread of the disease.

Resources and practices that promote biosecurity can be found on the Iowa Department of Ag’s website.

Signs of the disease include:

  • A sudden increase in bird death
  • Lack of energy
  • Decrease egg population
  • Soft or thin-shelled eggs
  • Purple discoloration of the waddle, comb, or head
  • Swelling of the head, eyelid, comb, wattle, hocks
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge
  • Stumbling or falling
  • Diarrhea

If producers suspect their flock has these symptoms, they need to contact their veterinarian immediately.

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