DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig highlighted the ongoing biosecurity efforts by Iowa turkey, egg and broiler farmers and the preparations undertaken on the state and federal level following the confirmation of low pathogenic avian influenza in Missouri and Texas in recent weeks.
Low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) virus strains occur naturally in wild migratory waterfowl and shorebirds without causing illness. LPAI can occur in domestic poultry, with little or no signs of illness. However, there is the potential for low pathogenic viruses to evolve into highly pathogenic viruses, which are extremely infectious, often fatal to domestic poultry, and can spread rapidly from flock-to-flock. As a result, it is important to monitor and respond to both low-path and high-path avian influenza detections.
“The low path avian influenza cases in Missouri and Texas highlight again the risks facing our poultry producers. We have seen poultry farms investing in biosecurity improvements in recent years to protect their birds and keep them healthy. That is their focus all year long, but as we enter the spring migration season it is important they remain diligent in their biosecurity efforts,” Naig said.
Biosecurity Important for Farmers
Iowa turkey, egg and broiler farmers have updated their biosecurity measures and made significant investments to help prevent the disease from getting on their farm. They focus every day on biosecurity in recognition of the potential that Avian Influenza and other diseases are always a risk. All poultry farms need to have a biosecurity plan to qualify for USDA indemnification.
Iowa’s egg, turkey and broiler companies have implemented company-wide biosecurity plans. The Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine has produced numerous materials to help farmers update biosecurity measures on their farm. More information about their suggestions can be found at http://poultrybiosecurity.org/.
It is also recommended all livestock premises that have one or more animals have an official premises identification number, which may be obtained for free by contacting the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
The Department is in the process of contacting farmers who have previously registered a livestock premises in an effort to update the Iowa Premises Registration database. Farmers are asked to respond to the letter and either confirm the information is correct or respond with their updated information.
Farmers can update their premises information or receive information on how to obtain premise identification number at http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/animalIndustry/premiseIdentificationProgram.asp or by calling the Department toll free at 888-778-7675.
Animal Health Emergency Preparations Continue
The Department continues efforts to update response plans for potential animal disease emergencies. As part of those efforts, the Department hired an Emergency Management Veterinarian for Iowa.
The Department received an additional $100,000 from the Iowa Legislature to support preparations for a foreign animal disease outbreak and a portion of that funding is being used for this position. This new position supports the Departments efforts to ensure emergency response plans are up to date, organize disease response exercises and work with industry partners.
The Iowa response to Avian Influenza operates under a Unified Command involving the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services. We also work closely with partners in the Poultry industry as well as other state agencies, including the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department of Natural Resources.