Bird Flu Strain ‘Caught Early’ in Indiana

January 19, 2016

A leader in Iowa’s poultry industry says U.S. egg and turkey farmers are resilient and will “get through” an outbreak of bird flu in Indiana.

“We think that they’ve caught it early and are working their best to stamp it out. One of the really curious things about this is that it happened in the deep of winter,” says Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association.

Olson says the hearts of Iowa producers who were hit by bird flu last year go out to their peers in Indiana. The strain of bird flu that has struck in Indiana is considered less virulent to the highly contagious or “highly pathogenic” strain that hit Iowa last year.

“We think that these ‘low path’ cases were identified through the surveillance, testing and the control areas and we thin that it’s proof that our system of identification of disease is sucessful.”

Avian influenza cases have recently been identified in France and Asia. Olson says Iowa poultry producers are conducting “trace backs” to determine if their operations have had any connection with the flocks in Indiana that have been hit by bird flu.

“We shouldn’t kid ourselves. When we have livestock production, we have disease,” Olson says. “This is an example of a case that has gotten more attention lately, it’s more widely known. Our farmers just need to do a great job of biosecurity to keep this disease out of their farms.”

More than 48 million chickens and turkeys either died from the bird flu in 2015 or were killed in their barns to contain the spread of the disease.

(Story by O.K. Henderson, Radio Iowa)