Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey announced five new probable cases of the bird flu Thursday afternoon.
There are three new cases in Buena Vista County including one facility with five-and-a-half million egg-laying hens, while the other two there are in turkey facilities. Northey says that pushes the number of facilities infected to 17, and includes around 15-million laying hens.
“That 15 million layers would be about one-fourth of Iowa’s layers. We’re are the biggest state by far, certainly that 15 million layers is gonna be bigger than many other states in the country in the number of layers impacted,” Northey says.
The other two sites in Buena Vista County have turkeys and they are still determining the number of birds. There is one new probable each in laying operations in Clay and Sioux County. The Sioux County site has 84-thousand birds and the number at the Clay site is undetermined.
Northey says the USDA has been working to try and figure our how the disease is spread by checking farms in a circular area around the ones that have been infected.”While we see some neighboring farms that come up with the disease, we also see some other farms that don’t, so it’s not just reactoring in the contagion from farm-to-farm. And inn fact that’s why we set up our circles the way we do. Often we will look at a lot of farms in the circle that won’t come back positive for the disease,” Northey says.
It is believed the disease has been spread by migratory waterfowl. Northey says so far they haven’t found any evidence that the disease could be coming into farms from young birds that are brought in.