There has been lots of discussion about the effects of high pathogenic Avian Influenza (AI), both as it affects production agriculture and its potential to change and become a pandemic human influenza.
It is important to remember that, even though the current strain (H5N1) has evolved as it spreads across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, it has not shown signs of changing to a form that transfers from human to human. The Centers for Disease Control and the Iowa Department of Public Health are monitoring any sign of change in the avian disease.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) has excellent partnerships in place with the poultry and turkey industries to detect any signs of AI in domestic production flocks. These partnerships are vital because Iowa leads the nation in egg production and has a large turkey population.
Production operations randomly test for disease, and the low and high pathogenic influenza strains are among those tests. Veterinarians communicate regularly with the State Veterinarian, and will notify us at the first sign of a significant disease.
IDALS has a staff of district veterinarians and inspectors, and the Iowa Veterinary Rapid Response Team, who stand ready to help control disease in the animal populations in Iowa. These teams are trained in disease surveillance and eradication. They will be part of Iowa’s front line of defense should we see high pathogenic avian influenza come into our state.
Feel free to read more information on our website, and visit the other sites listed in “links.” Plans are in place for an aggressive response, and state agencies are working together with our federal partners and local emergency managers to assure swift, decisive action on avian influenza and other foreign animal diseases.