Avian Flu Preparations

Iowa secretary of agriculture Bill Northey says his department, the USDA, and the state’s poultry producers are better prepared should the avian influenza virus return this fall.

If the virus does reoccur, Northey says, one of the keys to preventing its spread will be quicker detection and reporting by producers. “To be able to quickly shut down a farm, if and when that farm becomes positive, is one of those things that’s going to be important,” Northey says.

Which will require increased surveillance by producers and a faster response from government agencies, he says. “(To) make sure that we have very good surveillance that will find the disease very quickly—and the resources that need to be there to be able to put these barns down very quickly—so that the disease does not spread within that farm to other birds, limiting the amount of disease that’s created.”

Jack Shere, a U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinary administrator, agrees. He says the longer birds are infected, the more likely it is that the virus will spread.