In this file:
· Bird flu isn’t as bad this year because of Iowa’s response, ag officials say
· Bird flu infects millions of chickens in Md., Del. amid broader surge
Bird flu isn’t as bad this year because of Iowa’s response, ag officials say
By: Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch
May 6, 2022
The current outbreak of highly contagious and deadly avian influenza has affected far more flocks and states this year than the last outbreak seven years ago, but the number of birds that have been culled this year is fewer. Why?
In the 2014-2015 outbreak, Iowa accounted for about two-thirds of the more than 50 million birds that were destroyed after being infected by the virus. This year, Iowa accounts for about a third of the 37.5 million that have been culled, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
“We are extremely pleased with our ability to respond quickly to control and eradicate the disease,” said Chloe Carson, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Iowa is particularly susceptible to the deadly bird flu because it is the nation’s leading egg producer. Those egg-laying flocks often number in the millions and contribute mightily to the overall avian death toll.
Even though just 19 of the 285 infected nationwide flocks have been in Iowa — that’s about 7% — the state still has by far the most affected birds of any other state.
For comparison, Minnesota has 69 confirmed outbreaks but only 2.9 million affected birds compared with Iowa’s 13.4 million.
And the infections appear the be waning. There have been two confirmed outbreaks in Iowa in the past two weeks, and both of them were backyard flocks of chickens, ducks and geese. The affected flocks were six birds in Kossuth County on April 22 and 46 birds in Bremer County on May 2.
“We are hopeful that things are winding down and we’ll see an end to the spread very soon, but too early to tell at this point,” Carson said. “Birds are still migrating.”
Wild, infected birds are the likely sources of infection. They can be asymptomatic, whereas the virus is most often deadly to domesticated birds.
IDALS has asked residents to report clusters of dead birds to help monitor the virus, but none have been reported in Iowa since late March, according to the USDA.
Carson attributes Iowa’s relative success with the virus this year to heightened vigilance in protecting flocks from infection. There have been no flock-to-flock transmissions, which was a key driver of infections in 2015. This year, all commercially raised birds of infected flocks have been disposed of near their facilities, Carson said.
The state attempts to cull infected flocks within 24 hours of detection to stem the spread of the virus. The meat and eggs of infected birds are destroyed.
Nationwide, the month of April was worse in terms of overall flock infections — nearly double — compared with March, but April had fewer birds affected. There were 87 virus detections in March for a total of about 20.9 million birds, according to USDA data. In April, there were 166 detections for a total of 14.7 million birds.
That’s mostly due to fewer egg-laying operations being infected in April. A total of nine of those sites with 10.6 million birds were affected.
In March, 11 egg-laying facilities were infected with a total of 17.7 million birds.
The total infected flocks across the country this year has exceeded those of the 2014-2015 outbreak — 285 to 232. The number of affected states is also larger — 33 to 21. Yet the total number of birds affected is smaller, in part because backyard infections account for a larger percentage.
Backyard flocks, which are considerably smaller than commercial flocks, account for about 39% of this year’s infections, whereas they accounted for about 9% of the 2014-2015 infections.
The infected flocks in Iowa this year include:
Bird flu infects millions of chickens in Md., Del. amid broader surge
Dana Hedgpeth, The Washington Post
via MSN - May 6, 2022
Roughly 3.2 million chickens have been confirmed positive with the bird flu at six farms in Maryland and Delaware over the past two months, agriculture officials said Friday, part of a broader problem with the virus that is quietly sweeping across the country.
Eighty black vultures in Maryland’s Harford County also were recently found dead from the highly pathogenic avian influenza, officials said, near wildlife areas along the Susquehanna River.
Maryland and Delaware agriculture authorities said they have had reports of chickens at the farms being infected with the bird flu since February. The vultures were found in the past two weeks.
Thirty-seven million chickens and turkeys have been culled on U.S. farms since February because of the latest outbreak, according to the Agriculture Department, and roughly 950 cases of bird flu have been found in wild birds, including at least 54 bald eagles...