IOWA (KCAU) — The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said two flocks in the state were confirmed to have the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

According to a release, officials found positive cases in a non-commercial backyard flock in Louisa County and a commercial layer flock in Wright County which has one million egg-laying chickens on Monday. Wright County also had a confirmed case in a commercial layer flock previously on October 31.

One day earlier, officials found avian influenza in a non-commercial backyard flock in Dallas County.

“Migration is expected to continue for several more weeks and whether you have backyard birds or a commercial poultry farm, bolstering your biosecurity continues to be the best way to protect your flock from this disease,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Our coordinated response team, comprised of state and federal professionals working with the affected producers, will continue to move swiftly to limit the spread of this virus.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship advises producers should contact their veterinarian immediately if they suspect their flocks are showing signs of HPAI.

HPAI is highly contagious disease that only affects birds. The virus can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick, but is often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. The virus can spread through droppings or the nasal discharge of an infected bird, which can contaminate dust and soil.

Signs of HPAI include:

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs
  • Lethargy and lack of energy and appetite
  • Decrease in egg production
  • Soft- or thin-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
  • Purple/blue discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge (runny nose)
  • Stumbling or falling down
  • Diarrhea