Iowa on high alert for avian influenza

With the presence of HPAI confirmed in bordering South Dakota and Minnesota, Iowa agriculture secretary says poultry producers must pay attention.

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With new confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) infections in two bordering states, agriculture officials are concerned that the virus will reappear in the state’s commercial poultry flocks.

“Unfortunately, highly pathogenic avian influenza continues to be an active threat to our state’s turkey producers, egg layers, and backyard flocks. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant, review their biosecurity plans and ensure they are fully implemented,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Prevention of disease is always our goal, but should we face new cases, our team at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), working jointly with USDA and industry partners, is ready to swiftly respond.”

After there had not been any cases of HPAI in commercial poultry in the United States since April, three states have had flocks affected by HPAI so far in April. Two of those states share a border with Iowa: South Dakota and Minnesota.

On October 4, a commercial turkey flock in Jerauld County, South Dakota, was affected. One week later, the presence of the virus was confirmed in a commercial turkey flock in Meeker County, Minnesota.

Adding to Naig’s concerns are the fact that fall migration has begun, and the risk of the spread of HPAI through the wild bird population could be elevated.

Iowa lost more birds to HPAI than any other U.S. state in 2022, with the death or depopulation of nearly 15.92 million head. In terms of flocks, Iowa ranked fifth among the number infected with 19.

The state has only had one commercial poultry flock affected in 2023, with that being a commercial flock of 27,700 turkeys in Buena Vista County. That case was confirmed on January 25 and the control area was released on February 18, according to information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

To learn more about HPAI cases in commercial poultry flocks in the United States, Mexico and Canada, see an interactive map on   

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