Dems: Bird flu prompts stronger biosecurity in Iowa

April 26, 2016

Iowa plays an important role in feeding the world. That’s why last year’s bird flu was so troubling. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has described the outbreak of 2015 as the largest animal health emergency in U.S. history.


In Iowa, 31.5 million birds at 77 facilities in 18 counties were affected between April and June of last year. The outbreak cost the Iowa economy $1.2 billion, including about $800 million from egg, chicken and turkey production and $400 million in wages and tax revenue.


One year later, all quarantines have been lifted, and commercial poultry farms are restocking. To lift the quarantine, all sites went through a cleaning and disinfection process, had a 21-day fallow period following disinfection and passed environmental tests.


In response to the bird flu emergency, the Center for Food Security & Public Health at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine came up with new guidelines for farmers to update their biosecurity measures. They include:

  • Establishing a line of separation to isolate poultry from potential sources of infection, and following biosecurity protocols for any person or material that crosses the line.
  • Proper cleaning and disinfection of all equipment.
  • Disposing of dead birds in a way that doesn’t attract wild birds, rodents and other animals, and avoids cross-contamination with birds from other facilities.


To review a study on the impact of the bird flu in Iowa, go to

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