DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have confirmed a positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Buena Vista County, Iowa.

According to a release, the virus was found in a commercial turkey flock.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture advise commercial and backyard flock owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. Sick birds or unusual deaths among birds should be immediately reported to state or federal officials. If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks, they should contact their veterinarian immediately and possible cases must be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at 515-281-5305.

According to the release, HPAI is highly contagious viral disease affecting bird populations that can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick, but is often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. The virus can be spread through droppings or the nasal discharge of an infected bird.

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

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present a public health concern. It remains safe to eat poultry products. As a reminder, consumers should always utilize the proper handling and cooking of any poultry products such as having an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.