The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have confirmed a positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Wright County, Iowa. The virus was found in a commercial layer flock and this is the first confirmed case of HPAI in Wright County this year.

(Getty Images)

“With HPAI continuing to be a significant threat across the country, this is a difficult and stressful time for poultry farmers and egg producers,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “We have been preparing for the possibility of additional outbreaks and are working closely with USDA and producers to eradicate this disease from our state. With migration ongoing, we continue to emphasize the need for strict biosecurity on poultry farms and around backyard flocks to help prevent and limit the spread of this destructive virus.”

Commercial and backyard flock owners should ensure their birds avoid contact with wild birds. Sick birds or unusual deaths among birds should be immediately reported to state or federal officials. Information on biosecurity resources and best practices is available by clicking here ( Owners who suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks should contact their veterinarian immediately. Possible cases must also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present a public health concern. It remains safe to eat poultry products. Consumers should always properly handle and cook eggs and poultry products to an internal temperature of 165˚F to kill bacteria and viruses.

HPAI is highly contagious viral disease affecting bird populations. HPAI can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. It’s often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. The virus can spread through droppings or the nasal discharge of an infected bird, which can contaminate dust and soil.

Signs of HPAI include:

•           Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs

•           Lethargy and lack of energy and appetite

•           Decrease in egg production

•           Soft- or thin-shelled or misshapen eggs

•           Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks

•           Purple/blue discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs

•           Difficulty breathing

•           Coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge (runny nose)

•           Stumbling or falling

•           Diarrhea

For more information on HPAI, click here.