Bird Flu

Workers with clear plastic boots stop to have their feet disinfected April 23 before leaving Sunrise Farms, an Osceola County egg-laying facility near Harris, Iowa, where 3.8 million laying hens were destroyed because of the bird flu virus. State officials said Tuesday the number of areas in Iowa still under quarantine orders is down to eight control zones in three counties, Adair, Sioux and Wright.

AP photo/Zach Boyden-Holmes, The Des Moines Register

DES MOINES | The number of areas in Iowa still under quarantine orders due to a deadly bird flu outbreak is down to eight control zones, officials within the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said Tuesday.

State ag officials lifted 69 of the 77 control zones that were established around premises in Iowa infected with avian influenza. The 10-kilometer control zones were established around each site with a confirmed Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, case.

Once completed, officials say control zones will remain on only eight farms in Adair, Sioux and Wright counties.

Sioux County was one of the hardest-hit counties in the state, with 16 confirmed cases at commercial egg-layer facilities.

Iowa, the nation's largest egg-producing state and one of its largest turkey producers, lost 34 million birds to the virus, with the majority occurring in Northwest Iowa. 

Area counties where control zones have been lifted include Buena Vista, Calhoun, Cherokee, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, Pocahontas and Sac.

Also Tuesday, officials in Iowa and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a turkey farm near Manson that was infected with the bird flu virus has started restocking birds after completing the cleaning and disinfection process.

The farm, owned and operated by the Brad Moline family, was confirmed to have HPAI on May 19. Repopulation took place Friday at the farm, which has six barns that hold 28,800 brooder poults and 14,400 finisher turkeys, according to a state ag agency news release.

During a bird flu conference last week, industry officials said poultry and egg producers in Iowa are gradually rebuilding stocks hard hit by avian influenza with the help of $700 million in federal assistance enlisted nationwide to fight the virus. Also, Gov. Terry Branstad extended a state of emergency declaration through August to deal with the bird flu outbreak.

Since April 13, there have been 77 total premises and 34 million birds affected with the bird flu virus. There are 35 commercial turkey flocks, 22 commercial egg production flocks, 13 pullet flocks, one breeding flock for a mail order hatchery, and six backyard flocks.

Depopulation and disposal has been completed at all 77 premises, and 16 sites have completed the cleaning and disinfection process. Four sites are now eligible for repopulation.

According to state officials, all premises that had poultry that are within a 10-kilometer control zone surrounding an infected site are quarantined, and all movement of poultry and poultry products, feed, fuel and so on in and out of those quarantined noninfected premises must be permitted by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

In addition, all premises containing poultry infected with HPAI were quarantined. Tuesday’s announcement does not affect the status of any premise that had a confirmed case of avian influenza; it affects only those sites that were not infected but were within the 10-kilometer control zone.

To be eligible for the control zone to be lifted, officials said, 60 days must have elapsed since the poultry on the infected premises that caused the control zone to be established were depopulated or 21 days must have elapsed since cleaning and disinfection were completed on the infected premise.

Journal Managing Editor Dave Dreeszen contributed to this report.

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