The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is responding to two probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Wright and Sac counties. The Department has quarantined the premise 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.
Wright 5 - A pullet farm with an estimated 400,000 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.
Sac 7 – Turkey farm with an estimated 42,000 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.
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.
USDA UPDATE ON DEPOPULATION AND DISPOSAL
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Incident Response reported that several loads of materials were buried Thursday at the Northwest Iowa Landfill near Sheldon, in compliance with criteria approved by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. This is the first deposit of organic materials in a public landfill during this response. On-site burial, composting, incineration and landfill will all be used as disposal methods in the immediate future to expedite removal.
The incinerator at the Cherokee landfill came online Thursday, with previously staged loads scheduled for incinerated in the immediate future.
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 or need disaster counseling. 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)
- Quarantining 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
- Encouraging residents in counties with affected sites that have poultry to contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at BirdFlu@IowaAgriculture.gov or 515-725-1122
Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department (HSEMD)
- Coordinating partial activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) with several state agencies, including the Iowa Departments of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Public Health, Natural Resources, Transportation, Public Safety, and the Iowa National Guard. USDA, Iowa Turkey Federation, and Iowa Poultry Association are also present at the SEOC.
- Providing 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
- Sharing CDC recommendations on the use of personal protective equipment by persons working directly with sick chickens and carcasses.
- Following up with workers who had direct contact with sick birds without the use of personal protective equipment.
- Providing 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)
- DNR Air Quality has issued two variances for portable incinerators. The DNR has also issued a variance for a thermal treatment unit.
- 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, and burying.
- Looking at potential criteria for emergency air permits if needed for the incineration process.
- Working with contacts at 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 maintaining 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 for composting. The wood chips would be used as part of the composting process. The DNR has issued several variances to facilities to expand wood chipping capacity.
- Preparing 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 Human Services (DHS)
- Communicated to the Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team (DBHRT) that volunteers were needed to assist with damage assessment surveying in the northwest region. Three DBHRT members did volunteer to assist.
- The Division of Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS) is responding to requests from Buena Vista and Kossuth counties for mental health support; a plan is being structured in collaboration with businesses in Buena Vista and Kossuth counties.
- MHDS is in communication with Iowa Concern staff who are taking calls from people with concerns relating to the Avian flu. If calls are received from people who need additional support, contact will be made to MHDS and a plan will be put in place utilizing either local resources or DBHRT support.
Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT)
- Water hauling to assist with USDA operations continues.
- Districts have applied dust control to gravel shoulders along Highway 3 in Wright County.
- Provided a routing contact number and establish approved routes for IDALS permitted loads of carcasses up to 90,000 lbs.
- Assisting the Poultry Association by providing routing to help carriers hauling healthy poultry products to and through the state so they can avoid the infected areas.
- Created static signs for counties to install notifying haulers of poultry and poultry products of emergency restrictions placed on movements of such materials on select roads. Signs currently have been installed in Dallas, Emmet, and Palo Alto Counties.
Iowa National Guard
- Supporting mission for IDALS incident command post.
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.
Information will also be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/avianinfluenza.asp.