Second confirmed case of H5N2 at commercial laying facility, King responds

ChickenBy The Iowa Statesman


The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza at a commercial laying facility in Osceola County, Iowa.  The facility has 5.3 million hens and is the second confirmed case in the state.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevents and Iowa Department of Public Health consider the risk to people from these infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected.

The flock experienced increased mortality and as a result samples were sent to the South Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for preliminary testing.  The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the findings. NVSL is the only internationally recognized Avian Influenza reference laboratory in the United States.

USDA APHIS is working closely with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the premise and birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

U.S. Rep. Steve King released the following statement in response to the confirmed case:

“We have a serious outbreak of avian influenza H5N2. I am glad to see that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the USDA are responding immediately and doing the things necessary to contain this disease. Iowa was the last state to break with this avian bird flu. It is serious especially from a financial stand point; however, fortunately this does not put human beings at risk.

“We are monitoring the situation and speaking directly to Secretary Bill Northey on these issues and we stand prepared to help in any way that we can. We will get this contained – it is a matter of time – and hopefully we can end it here.”

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.  Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at