KARE — Avian flu forensic mystery in Minnesota

Trisha Volpe, KARE 10:12 a.m. EDT May 8, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS – Turkeys are an $800 million business in Minnesota, but a quickly spreading strain of avian flu has put the industry in crisis mode, as scientists work to understand the mysterious disease.

Experts say the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza that has killed millions of turkeys and chickens this spring is a mixture of a virus from Europe/Asia and another from North America, creating a kind of super bug that is likely to be around for several years.

“Hopefully we can all put our heads together and figure this thing out,” said Paul Young, a wildlife disease biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Scientists, who are also detectives, are collecting and analyzing evidence, trying to understand what brought the virus to Minnesota and why it’s spreading so fast.

Kandiyohi County has been ground zero for the outbreak, where more farms have been affected here than anywhere.

Researchers know migrating birds, like ducks and geese, still flying back to Minnesota naturally carry the virus. It doesn’t seem to affect them, but can remain in what those birds leave behind – their droppings.

The DNR and the USDA have been collecting thousands of what they call ‘environmental’ samples from areas where ducks have landed, primarily near water.

“When a duck is on land and it poops and other ducks are stepping in the poop and eating around this fecal material, then it’s spread from bird to bird,” Hildebrand said.

What if ducks dropped the virus on a farm during a flyby or is the answer blowing in the wind?

One theory experts have discussed is whether avian flu in duck droppings may have spread by air because of high winds. They also believe there is more than one pathway the virus is using to get into farms and that the introduction of the virus has been point introduction not the result of a spread from farm to farm.

So might the duck be an innocent bystander?

A recent finding by wildlife pathologists in Madison, Wisconsin may have sent the case in a totally different direction.

“Lots of things surprises me about this virus,” said wildlife virologist Hon Ip, who studies animal viruses at the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center – the CDC for wild animals. At a lab in Madison, scientists identify, track and help prevent infectious disease from spreading.

Pathologists have been dissecting dead birds sent from Minnesota, testing them – along with wild turkey samples – for avian flu.

“We need to know how the virus is truly spreading. Is it just by migratory birds,” Ip said.

And scientists at the National Wildlife Health Center did find the flu – not in a duck – but in a Cooper’s hawk from Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota. The hawk, researchers believe, must have eaten an infected bird.

The problem is the Cooper’s hawk doesn’t each ducks. Scientists wonder if they should be looking at a different species of bird – not just ducks – as a potential carrier of avian influenza.
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Click HERE for the complete article and KARE video.
http://www.kare11.com/story/news/health/avian-flu/2015/05/07/avian-flu-forensic-mystery-in-minnesota/70986110/

CIDRAP — Change in pattern of H5N2 spread raises questions

Robert Roos | News Editor | CIDRAP News | May 07, 2015

Poultry experts and industry officials say the H5N2 avian flu virus is changing its transmission pattern, hitting multiple neighboring farms instead of widely separated ones, and in the process raising questions about possible airborne spread and even changes in the virus itself.

Meanwhile, Minnesota reported two more turkey-farm H5N2 outbreaks today, while Iowa reported H5 outbreaks on one chicken farm and one turkey farm.

Possible farm-to-farm spread
In the early days of the H5N2 crisis, which began in Minnesota in early March, the virus struck widely separated farms in a seemingly random pattern. And in most cases in Minnesota, only one barn on each farm was affected. The conventional theory was that wild birds had brought the virus to the Midwest and that it was getting into poultry barns via wild-bird feces clinging to workers or equipment.

But now some counties have many infected farms, meaning the outbreaks are close together. Exhibit A is Kandiyohi County, the state’s top turkey producer, where 32 farms have been hit. Others are Stearns County, with 14 outbreaks, and Meeker County, with 8.

This has prompted talk of lateral spread of the virus from farm to farm. For example, on a conference call with reporters yesterday, Minnesota State Veterinarian Bill Hartmann, DVM, MS, commented, “Some poultry veterinarians have mentioned that it could be spreading from farm to farm through the air.”

“This idea of lateral spread is one theory, it has not been confirmed,” he added. His comments were included in a summary of the call provided by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH).

Carol Cardona, DVM, PhD, an avian health expert at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, said the results of epidemiologic investigations have not yet been divulged, but she assumes the speculation about lateral spread of the virus “is based on the fact that there are clusters of farms now starting to appear and the virus appears to have changed, so that now multiple barns are infected all at same time.”

“Previously it didn’t even spread to the next barn, so it wasn’t spreading from farm to farm,” she said. “Now it seems to have done that. . . . Multiple barns become infected at the same time.”

Has virus changed?
She suggested that the change in transmission pattern may mean that the virus has mutated in some way. “Influenza mutates with every host it infects,” she said. “When it passages through wild birds or through domestic poultry, it will change. That’s a given.”

A similar view was voiced by an egg company executive in Wisconsin, according to a May 5 story in the Chippewa Herald, a newspaper in Chippewa Falls, Wis. John Brunquell, president of Egg Innovations, Port Washington, Wis., which owns 60 farms, said, “We believe all these infections you’re hearing about now are from facility to facility” and that migratory waterfowl are no longer the main vehicle for the virus.

He added that the theory gaining the most support is that the virus has mutated so that it can stay active on feathers, dust, or manure long enough to reach a poultry barn by air after it’s blown out of another nearby facility’s exhaust system, according to the story.

Another infectious disease expert, Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said the changing transmission picture doesn’t necessarily mean the virus has mutated. He is director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which publishes CIDRAP News.

“There’s been evidence of transmission like this before, in the Netherlands, so I’m not sure this necessarily means that,” he said. “It could, but we need the isolates tested to find this out. It could be just acting like any other highly pathogenic [avian flu] virus we see, with wind-driven virus transmission. It just hasn’t been stopped by the current level of biosecurity.”

He said wind-driven transmission is “surely a possibility,” but so far its role is unknown. US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials have mentioned the possibility of H5N2 being carried into poultry houses by windborne feathers or dust.

Possibly lending credence to that theory is a study yesterday in PLoS One. A Dutch research team reported they found avian flu viruses via air sampling in and near barns housing poultry that were infected with several different low-pathogenic avian flu viruses: H7N7, H9N2, H5N2, and H10N9.

The team used filters to take airborne dust samples inside, upwind, and downwind of the poultry barns, then used reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to detect viruses in the samples. The researchers didn’t, however, isolate viable viruses from the environmental samples.

There has been some talk of an air sampling study in Minnesota, but it wasn’t clear today if any such study has been launched.

Osterholm said the University of Minnesota, the USDA, and a large poultry company are collaborating on a big case-control study to try to shed more light on the epidemiology of H5N2. He called it an “exhaustive review” that compares affected and unaffected farms.

“It’s by far the most comprehensive case-control study I know of that’s ever been done on poultry outbreaks,” he said. He was unsure when the findings would be released.
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Click HERE for the complete article.
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/05/change-pattern-h5n2-spread-raises-questions

CIDRAP — Avian Flu Scan for May 04, 2015

H7N9 case in China; H5N1, H7N9 pandemic threat assessment; H6 serologic findings

H7N9 infects Jiangxi province woman
China’s Jiangxi province on May 1 announced a new H7N9 avian influenza case, involving a 39-year old woman from Jiujiang who is hospitalized in critical condition, according to a provincial health department statement translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

Jiangxi province is in southeastern China and borders other provinces that have reported several cases since the virus first emerged in 2013. The province reported its most recent previous case in late February.

The woman’s illness is the first H7N9 case to be reported in May and boosts the global total from the disease to 659, according to a running case list kept by FluTrackers.
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Click HERE for the complete article.
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/05/avian-flu-scan-may-04-2015

CIDRAP — Three Midwest states report 14 more H5N2 outbreaks

Robert Roos | News Editor | CIDRAP News | May 04, 2015

Officials in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin today reported a total of 14 more confirmed or probable H5N2 avian flu outbreaks on turkey and chicken farms, undermining hopes that warm spring weather would slow the virus’s spread.

Minnesota reported eight outbreaks, including two in previously untouched counties and one on a farm housing more than 1 million chickens. Iowa, the nation’s leader in egg production, revealed four probable outbreaks, three of them on turkey farms, while Wisconsin had two.

Agriculture officials have been saying that warmer weather with the advancing spring should slow the H5N2 virus, which does not survive as well in warm conditions. But so far the pathogen seems to be defying such expectations.
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Click HERE for the complete article.
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/05/three-midwest-states-report-14-more-h5n2-outbreaks

Iowa Department of Agriculture — FOUR PROBABLE CASES OF HIGHLY PATHOGENIC AVIAN INFLUENZA IN BUENA VISTA, CHEROKEE AND WRIGHT COUNTIES

For Immediate Release
Monday, May 4, 2015

Dustin Vande Hoef
515/281-3375 or 515/326-1616 (cell)
or Dustin.VandeHoef@IowaAgriculture.gov

FOUR PROBABLE CASES OF HIGHLY PATHOGENIC AVIAN INFLUENZA IN BUENA VISTA, CHEROKEE AND WRIGHT COUNTIES
CDC considers the risk to people to be low

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is responding to four probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in commercial poultry farms in Buena Vista, Cherokee and Wright counties. These four new cases would join 21 cases of the disease in Iowa that were previously announced. State officials have quarantined the premises and once the presence of the disease is confirmed, all birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

Buena Vista 7 – Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

Cherokee 2 – Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

Wright – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 2.8 million birds that has experienced increased mortality. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

Buena Vista 8 – Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

As the Department receives final confirmations of the disease updated information will be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/avianinfluenza.asp.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have ever been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.
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Click HERE for the complete press release.
http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/press/2015press/press05042015.asp

New York Times — A Flu Epidemic That Threatens Birds, Not Humans

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.MAY 4, 2015

Although much of the country has barely noticed, avian influenza — a version of the virus that generated “Killer Bird Flu!” headlines a decade ago — is now sweeping the Midwest.

More than 20 million turkeys and chickens have died or been culled; Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin have declared states of emergency; and teams of experts are trying to figure out how the new virus is spreading.

No humans have caught this flu, but health officials fear they might. They are requiring that cullers and barn-cleaners wear the kind of protective gear that Ebola workers do. Officials have also advised that everyone who was recently in contact with affected poultry operations — workers, truckers, veterinarians and so on — take Tamiflu, a flu preventive.
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The H5N2 and the new H5N1 have some North American genes and so clearly emerged on this continent more recently — presumably when the H5N8 virus finally arrived and crossed with North American strains.

That may have happened last summer. Migratory ducks, geese and swans from around the world share ponds in the Arctic in summer. New flu gene mixes emerge and move south along the various migratory paths taken by the birds.

Whatever the mix of genes, dose size is also important in determining spread of the virus, said Dr. Peter Palese, a flu expert at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Human flus can infect people who inhale only one to 10 virus particles, he said, but it takes 100,000 to 1 million particles of an H5 bird flu to infect a human.

“That’s why people who sleep under their chickens in markets in Asia get it, and we don’t get it on Fifth Avenue,” Dr. Palese said.

In birds, flu is primarily an intestinal disease rather than a respiratory one, so cullers and cleaners are told to wear coveralls, face masks and goggles to prevent any barn dust — much of which is powdered feces — from entering their noses, mouths or eyes.

Dr. Palese says he believes they should wear the full hoods with battery-powered air filters used in biosafety Level 3 laboratories.

Officials, he said, should also consider giving them the vaccines developed years ago against H5N1. Although it would not be a perfect match, it might provide some protection.

Several million doses of an experimental vaccine are in the National Strategic Stockpile, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

It was created in the early days of panic over the Asian H5N1.

Blood samples from people who received the experimental vaccine years ago are now being tested to see if they contain antibodies that help protect against the new flus, a C.D.C. official said.
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Click HERE for the complete article.

CIDRAP — Avian flu taking big toll in Iowa; virus found in Minnesota hawk

Robert Roos | News Editor | CIDRAP News | Apr 30, 2015

Nine more H5 avian influenza outbreaks that were reported on Iowa poultry farms in the past 2 days, combined with previous outbreaks, will mean the loss of about a quarter of the state’s 60 million layer hens, state officials said today.

In addition, Minnesota officials today announced three more turkey-farm outbreaks and reported finding the virus in a dead hawk, the first known wild-bird infection in the state that has by far the most poultry outbreaks.

Six outbreaks in one Iowa county
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) reported four outbreaks late yesterday and added five more today. Six of them are in Buena Vista County in the northwestern part of the state.

Initial testing pointed to a highly pathogenic (HP) H5 virus, but there was little doubt that it would be confirmed as H5N2. At an afternoon press conference, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said birds on all the farms are showing clinical signs, “so we highly suspect they’ll come back with N2” confirmed.

One of the Buena Vista County outbreaks reported today is on a farm with 5.5 million layer hens, the IDA reported. The virus also hit two Buena Vista turkey farms, with bird counts not yet available; a Sioux County farm with 84,000 layer hens; and a Clay County layer operation, with no bird count available yet.

The four outbreaks reported yesterday included three on Buena Vista County farms: one with 50,000 turkeys, one with an unknown number of turkeys, and one with 63,000 layers. Also hit was a farm with 19,000 breeder chickens in Kossuth County, in north-central Iowa.

Northey said 17 farms in seven Iowa counties have been affected so far, compared with just three farms a week ago.

Concerning the losses, Northey said, “I believe we’re somewhere north of 15 million layers right now. That would be about one fourth of Iowa’s layers. . . . That’s going to be 5 to 6% of layers in the US. Once you start getting those kinds of number you can start having an impact.”

He added that Iowa has lost some markets overseas, which keeps some of Iowa’s production at home and could counterbalance to some degree any upward pressure on egg prices, “but we’ll probably still see some impact.”

In response, to questions, Northey said no H5N2-infected migratory birds have been found in Iowa and noted that the virus’s pathway into poultry barns remains a mystery. He said some farms that are close to outbreak sites get hit with the virus but others don’t.

“There could be something that flew over and left something that somebody walks through and takes into the barn,” he said. “We all wish we had all the answers as to exactly how this is moving.”
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For the complete article, please see:
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/04/avian-flu-taking-big-toll-iowa-virus-found-minnesota-hawk

Governor Branstad declares state of emergency in Iowa

Branstad, Northey provide update on avian influenza in Iowa; Branstad declares state of emergency in Iowa

Date: May 01, 2015

For the complete press release including video, please see:
https://governor.iowa.gov/2015/05/branstad-northey-provide-update-on-avian-influenza-in-iowa-branstad-declares-state-of

Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad today was joined by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Mark Schouten to provide an update on the ongoing efforts to stop the avian influenza outbreak in Iowa. In addition, Gov. Branstad announced that he is declaring a state of emergency in Iowa. The disaster proclamation can be viewed here.

“While the avian influenza outbreak does not pose a risk to humans, we are t the matter very seriously and believe declaring a state of emergency is the best way to make all resources available,” said Branstad. “Even before the virus began in Iowa, our office was monitoring the outbreak in other states. We’ll continue our work – as we’ve been doing since the first outbreak in Buena Vista County – in hopes of stopping the virus’ aggressive spread throughout Iowa.”

At time of press, 21 sites spanning 10 Iowa counties have cases that are either presumed positives or confirmed positives. The counties include: Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Kossuth, Madison, O’Brien, Osceola, Pocahontas, Sac and Sioux.

“Iowa’s poultry farms are an important part of our state’s agriculture industry. This disease is having a far reaching impact and, unfortunately, it has continued to spread. We have seen tremendous support and coordination from state, federal and local partners and this emergency declaration will allow the state to continue to respond aggressively to this disease outbreak,” Northey said.

In addition, Gov. Branstad today declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak. The proclamation is effective immediately and will continue until May 31, 2015, at 11:59 p.m., unless sooner terminated or extended by the governor.
The proclamation of disaster emergency can be read below and does the following:

1. Activates the disaster response and recovery aspect of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department’s (HSEMD) Iowa Emergency Response Plan.

2. Authorizes the use and deployment of all available state resources, supplies, equipment, and materials as are deemed reasonably necessary by the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa HSEMD in order to do the following:

A. Track and monitor instances of confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza throughout the state of Iowa and the country,

B. Establish importation restrictions and prohibitions in respect to animals suspected of suffering from this disease,

C. Rapidly detect any presumptive or confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza within Iowa’s borders,

D. Contain the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state through depopulation, disinfections, and disposal of livestock carcasses,

E. Engage in detection activities, contact tracking, and other investigatory work to stop the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state, and

F. Eliminate the disease in those disaster counties where it has been found and lessen the risk of this disease spreading to our state as a whole.

3. Temporarily authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies and private contractors employed by the same to remove and/or dispose of live animals and animal carcasses on publicly or privately owned land when those live animals and/or carcasses threaten public health or safety.

4. Authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa DOT, the Iowa DPS, the Iowa DNR, IDPH, other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies to implement stop movement and stop loading restrictions and other control zone measures as are reasonably deemed necessary, including establishing buffer zones, checkpoints, and cleaning and disinfecting operations at checkpoints and borders surrounding any quarantine areas established by the IDALS or at any other location in the state of Iowa, in order to stop the spread of this contagious disease.

5. Authorizes state agencies to assist the IDALS in disinfection, depopulation, and livestock carcass disposal efforts.

6. Temporarily waives restrictions to allow for the timely and efficient disposal of poultry carcasses.

7. Temporarily suspends the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers hauling poultry carcasses infected with or exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza or while hauling loads otherwise related to the response to this disaster during its duration, subject to certain conditions outlined in the disaster proclamation.

For more information, please review background, agency activity and the full disaster proclamation below.

###

UPDATE ON ACTIVITIES OF STATE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN RESPONSE TO AVIAN INFLUENZA

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)

· Quarantined all infected sites

· Subject to facilities implementing nationally approved biosecurity measures, the Dept. permits the movement of materials such as feed and other supplies on and off of infected sites

· Leading efforts to monitor all poultry within a 10 kilometer circle of each infected site

· Coordinating state communication efforts on the disease

· Working with federal and state officials to ensure the humane depopulation and disposal of all birds from infected sites

Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department (HSEMD)

· Conducted coordination meetings with IDALS, the governor’s office and other partner agencies to bring all up to date, and to brainstorm planning and coordination needs. Other agencies at the meeting included Iowa Dept. of Public Health, Iowa Dept. of Transportation, Iowa Dept. of Corrections, Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, Iowa Dept. of Public Safety, Iowa National Guard, Iowa Dept. of Human Services, Iowa Dept. of Inspections and Appeals.

· Provide resource support coordination as requested.

· Regularly providing information for situational awareness with county emergency management coordinators.

· Providing support for IDALS communications activities.

Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) – in conjunction with local public health officials

· Shared CDC recommendations on the use of personal protective equipment by persons working directly with sick chickens and carcasses.

· Followed up with workers who had direct contact with sick birds without the use of personal protective equipment.

· Provided sound risk information, making sure the public understands that the virus presents no food safety concern or risk to the general public.

· Participated in media conference calls with Sec. Northey and USDA.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

· The DNR’s primary concern is that disposal methods protect surface water, groundwater and air quality and does not result in further spreading of the AI virus

· Investigating the feasibility and the potential benefits and problems associated with various disposal options including landfilling, composting, incinerating, rendering and burying.

· Looking at potential criteria for emergency air permits if needed for an incineration process.

· Made contacts with several landfills to determine the ability of those operations to take dead poultry as well as being able to wash and disinfect transport vehicles on site.

· Investigating and been in contact with wastewater treatment facilities on the ability to accept and adequately treat leachate produced by any landfill for the AI virus that may take dead poultry.

· Developed solid waste acceptance criteria for landfills willing to accept AI infected poultry.

· Contacted numerous potential sources of wood chips that can be used if composting becomes an option. The wood chips would be used as part of the composting process.

· Prepared maps of infected facilities that show quarantine boundaries and to determine the proximity of other poultry operations and neighbors.

· Investigating the geology involved with operations to determine the optimum potential locations for burial if needed.

· Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct sampling of waterfowl for AI.

Background Information

The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world. As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4) Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.

These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Information will also be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/avianinfluenza.asp

Disaster Proclamation

WHEREAS, beginning on April 13, 2015 and continuing thereafter, there have been a significant number of confirmed diagnosis of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the State of Iowa; and

WHEREAS, highly pathogenic avian influenza is a contagious and economically devastating disease that threatens turkeys, chickens, and other poultry; and

WHEREAS, the entire state of Iowa is at risk of this serious animal disease spreading; and

WHEREAS, the spread of this highly contagious disease threatens the public peace, health, and safety of the citizens of the State of Iowa and has the potential to quickly destroy private property and exhaust local resources and capacities unless its spread is stopped. These facts provide legal justification for the issuance of this Proclamation of a State of Disaster Emergency. Iowa Code §§ 29C.1, 29C.2 (1), 29C.6 (1).

NOW, THEREFORE, I, TERRY E. BRANSTAD, Governor of the State of Iowa, by the power and authority vested in me by the Iowa Constitution Art. IV, §§ 1, 8 and Iowa Code §§ 29C.6 (1), 163.3A (2) and all other applicable laws, and in conjunction with the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, under the authority granted to him under Iowa Code § 163.3A, do hereby proclaim a State of Disaster Emergency for the entire state of Iowa and do hereby ORDER and DIRECT the following:

SECTION One. As required by Iowa Code § 29C.6 (1), (10) and 42 U.S.C. § 5170 in cases of presidential disaster declarations, this Proclamation of Disaster Emergency activates the disaster response and recovery aspect of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department’s Iowa Emergency Response Plan, any annex to that plan dealing with foreign animal disease, and those local response plans applicable to the counties affected by this disaster.

SECTION Two. This proclamation further authorizes the use and deployment of all available state resources, supplies, equipment, and materials as are deemed reasonably necessary by the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, working in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Governor’s Office and pursuant to Iowa’s Emergency Response Plan, in order to do the following:

G. Track and monitor instances of confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza throughout the state of Iowa and the country,

H. Establish importation restrictions and prohibitions in respect to animals suspected of suffering from this disease,

I. Rapidly detect any presumptive or confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza within Iowa’s borders,

J. Contain the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state through depopulation, disinfections, and disposal of livestock carcasses,

K. Engage in such surveillance and detection activities, contact tracking, and other investigatory work to stop the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state, and

L. Eliminate the disease in those disaster counties where it has been found and lessen the risk of this disease spreading to our state as a whole.

Iowa Code §§ 29C.6 (10), 163.1.

SECTION Three. I temporarily authorize the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Public Health, other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies and private contractors employed by the same to remove and/or dispose of live animals and animal carcasses on publicly or privately owned land when those live animals and/or carcasses threaten public health or safety or otherwise threaten public or private property. Iowa Code § 29C.6 (10).

SECTION Four. The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Public Health, other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies are hereby authorized to implement such stop movement and stop loading restrictions, surveillance and sampling activities, and other control zone measures as are reasonably deemed necessary, including establishing buffer zones, checkpoints, and cleaning and disinfecting operations at checkpoints and borders surrounding any quarantine areas established by the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship or at any other location in the state of Iowa, in order to stop the spread of this contagious disease. Iowa Code §§ 29C.6 (8), (13), (14) and 163.1 (4).

SECTION Five. The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department working in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Department of Public Health, other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies are authorized to assist the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the United States Department of Agriculture in disinfection, depopulation, and livestock carcass disposal efforts. Iowa Code § 29C.6 (10).

SECTION Six. I temporarily waive those restrictions set out in 567 Iowa Admin. Code 100.4(2)(b) as to allow for the timely and efficient disposal of poultry carcasses, subject to the restrictions set out in 567 Iowa Admin. Code 100.4(2)(c). Iowa Code § 29C.6 (10).

SECTION Seven. I temporarily suspend the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code § 321.449 pertaining to hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers hauling poultry carcasses infected with or exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza or while hauling loads otherwise related to the response to this disaster during its duration and on routes approved by the Iowa Department of Transportation, subject to these conditions:

M. Nothing contained in this Proclamation shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements under 49 CFR Part 382, the commercial drivers’ license requirements under 49 CFR Part 383, the financial responsibility requirements of 49 CFR Part 387, or any other portion of the Code of Federal Regulations not specifically identified in this proclamation.

N. No motor carrier operating under the terms of this proclamation shall require or allow a fatigued or ill driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who informs a carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to service.

O. Upon the request of a driver, a commercial motor carrier operating under this proclamation must give a driver at least thirty-four (34) consecutive hours off when the driver has been on duty for more than seventy (70) hours during any eight consecutive days.

P. Motor carriers that have an out-of-service order in effect may not take advantage of the relief from regulations that this declaration provides under title 49 CFR § 390.23.

Q. Upon the expiration of the effective date of this Proclamation, or when a driver has been relieved of all duty and responsibility to provide direct assistance to the emergency effort, a driver that has had at least thirty-four (34) consecutive hours off duty shall be permitted to start his or her on-duty status hours and 60/70 hour clock at zero.

Iowa Code § 29C.6 (6).

SECTION Eight. I temporarily suspend the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code §§ 321.463(5) (a), (5) (b) and 321E.29 and 761 Iowa Admin. Code Chapter 511, pertaining to hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers hauling poultry carcasses infected with or exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza or while hauling loads otherwise related to the response to this disaster during its duration and on routes approved by the Iowa Department of Transportation, when such loads:

R. Do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight,

S. Do not exceed by more than twelve and one-half percent (12.5%) the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non-primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code § 321.463(5) (b),

T. Do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds, and

U. Comply with posted weight limits on roads and bridges.

Iowa Code § 29C.6 (6).

SECTION Nine. I temporarily suspend the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code Chapter 8A, 11 Iowa Admin. Code Chapters 117 and 118, and 641 Iowa Admin. Code Chapter 176, requiring the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and other state agencies to procure goods and services through a competitive selection process. Suspension of these provisions is limited to the duration of this proclamation and is further limited to procurements which are necessary to prevent or contain the spread of the disease that is the subject of this proclamation of disaster emergency. Iowa Code § 29C.6(6).

SECTION Ten. This state of disaster emergency shall be effective immediately today, May 1, 2015, shall continue for thirty (30) days, and shall expire on May 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m., unless sooner terminated or extended in writing by me. Iowa Code § 29C.6 (1).

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the Great Seal of the State of Iowa to be affixed at Des Moines, Iowa this 1st day of May in the year of our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen.

________________________________

TERRY E. BRANSTAD

GOVERNOR

ATTEST:

____________________________

PAUL D. PATE

SECRETARY OF STATE

CIDRAP — Minnesota declares H5N2 emergency as spread continues

Robert Roos | News Editor | CIDRAP News | Apr 23, 2015

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton today declared an emergency over the widespread H5N2 avian influenza invasion of poultry farms, as the state’s first outbreaks in chickens and backyard poultry were reported and Wisconsin and Iowa each announced a new turkey outbreak.

By declaring a state of emergency, Dayton activated an emergency operations plan to support the state’s response to the crisis, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The state has logged 46 outbreaks in 16 counties, with more than 2.63 million birds either killed by the virus or destroyed to stop its spread, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH).

Dayton’s action also calls for National Guard troops to be used as needed, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether any would be called up, the story said. On Apr 20, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to help respond to H5N2, after the state veterinarian asked that a few Guard members be made available.

Large chicken farm hit
Minnesota’s first H5N2 outbreak on a commercial chicken farm was reported today at J & A Farms, an egg operation about 20 miles west of Detroit Lakes in the northwest, the Star Tribune reported. In addition, the MBAH reported an outbreak in a mixed backyard flock of 150 poultry in Pipestone County, near the state’s southwestern corner, the county’s first outbreak.

Amon Baer, owner of the chicken farm near Detroit Lakes, told the newspaper he must destroy about 300,000 chickens after tests he ordered confirmed the presence of the virus. The story said the MBAH was aware of the test result and was in the process of confirming it. If confirmed, the outbreak will push the state’s losses of turkeys and chickens close to 3 million.

Click HERE for the complete article.
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/04/minnesota-declares-h5n2-emergency-spread-continues

CIDRAP — USDA hopes weather will help as H5N2 outbreaks mount

Robert Roos and Lisa Schnirring | Staff Writers | CIDRAP News | Apr 22, 2015

Warm weather and plenty of sunshine are the factors most likely to halt, at least for now, the series of H5N2 avian flu outbreaks plaguing poultry farms across the Midwest, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said today, a few hours before an onslaught of 13 new outbreaks in Minnesota was reported.

“When warm weather comes in consistently across the country I think we’ll stop seeing new cases,” John Clifford, DVM, the USDA’s chief veterinary officer, said at a morning press conference about the virus that has spelled death for millions of turkeys and chickens in recent weeks.

“I can’t predict what will happen in the fall, but we need to prepare and that’s what we’re doing,” he added.

His comments came in the wake of four more turkey-farm outbreaks reported late yesterday, three in Minnesota and one in South Dakota. And late this afternoon the USDA and Minnesota officials reported that the virus has hit 13 more turkey farms in the state, while Wisconsin officials reported two H5 outbreaks on chicken and turkey farms in different counties, with test results on the specific subtype awaited.

Virus can’t take the heat
In response to a question about whether cool weather is prolonging the H5N2 siege, Clifford said, “We know that this virus doesn’t like heat, so when it gets up to a certain level of temperature the virus doesn’t survive easily.”

Click HERE for the complete article.
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/04/usda-hopes-weather-will-help-h5n2-outbreaks-mount