The incidence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been found in a flock of commercial turkeys in Buena Vista County, Iowa, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship confirmed on March 7, 2022.

As stated in the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s announcement, 50,000 15-week-old turkeys were destroyed at the Buena Vista County facility to prevent the spread of the virus.

After the finding, Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster declaration for the county, which allows the state agriculture department and other supporting agencies to assist with detection, tracking and monitoring of the virus, as well as containment, disposal and disinfection.

“The Iowa Department of Agriculture and USDA APHIS are working diligently with producers to trace back, control and eradicate this disease from our state,” stated Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “Protecting the health of our livestock and Iowa’s agriculture-based economy are our top priorities.” 

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According to the Des Moines Register, officials restricted movement in and out of the facility, as well as implemented a 6-mile buffer around the infected facility. Birds in five commercial facilities and 37 backyard flocks within in the quarantined area are currently being tested, stated Jeff Kaisand, Iowa State Veterinarian.

“Tests verified the virus in the Buena Vista County flock late Sunday,” explained Kaisand. “The destroyed birds will be disposed of on location. The owner has the option of composting the birds or burying them.”

In 2022, this is the first commercial flock affected with HPAI in Iowa, but the second incident of the virus in the state. On March 1, 2022, HPAI was detected in Pottawattamie, Iowa, in a 42-bird non-poultry, backyard mixed-species flock. So far, HPAI has been confirmed in commercial poultry in seven states: Iowa, Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana and South Dakota. 

Read our ongoing coverage of the global avian influenza outbreak.