Avian influenza strikes again in South Dakota, Iowa

Animal health officials in South Dakota said highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza has turned up on two more poultry farms, three weeks after the state's last outbreaks were reported, and Iowa authorities reported one new suspected outbreak at an another egg farm.

The latest outbreaks hit two turkey farms in the Yankton area, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported yesterday, citing Dustin Oedekoven, DVM, state veterinarian for the South Dakota Animal Industry Board (SDAIB). He said the farms are in Hutchinson and Yankton counties and mark the state's seventh and eighth recent avian influenza detections.

In foreign avian influenza developments, Nigeria today reported 54 more highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu outbreaks, and foreign media reports say the virus has turned up in Iraq after a nearly 9-year hiatus.

South Dakota bird toll passes 400,000

According to the SDAIB, the outbreaks have occurred in eight separate counties, affecting 400,900 birds. All of the affected farms are in the eastern half of the state, with the first event reported on Mar 30. Other counties that have reported outbreaks are Beadle, Kingsbury, McCook, McPherson, Roberts, and Spink.

For the second day in a row, Minnesota reported no new avian flu outbreaks. The state has been the epicenter of activity, with the virus hitting the state's turkey industry hard, with 85 farms affected in 21 counties.

Iowa outbreaks reach 50

Iowa today reported another probable H5N2 outbreak, in a commercial laying operation in Sioux County. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) in a statement estimated that 238,000 birds are affected at the site, which pushes the state's number of outbreaks to 50.

The IDALS said additional confirmation tests are being done at the US Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames.

The outbreaks in Iowa have now affected 25,680,221 birds, most of them layers, in 13 of the state's counties.

H5N1 in Nigeria and Iraq

In two separate reports to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Nigeria's agriculture ministry said the virus hit mainly chickens on farms and in backyard flocks in six different states—Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi, Kano, Rivers, and Lagos. Rivers and Lagos states are in far southern Nigeria, and the rest are in the central and northern Nigeria.

The events were reported between Jan 3 and May 9, killing 7,695 of 169,920 susceptible birds. The remaining birds were destroyed to curb the spread of the virus.

Nigeria has been battling a resurgence of H5N1 since the first of the year.

Meanwhile, a foreign media report from Iraq said H5N1 has struck a number of farms in Sulamaniyah, a province in Iraqi Kurdistan near the border with Iran, according to a Voice of Iraq report translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog. If the OIE confirms the findings, the outbreak would signify the first recurrence of H5N1 in the country since 2006.

See also:

May 12 Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan story

May 13 SDAIB update

May 13 IDALS statement

May 13 OIE report on 52 Nigerian outbreaks

May 13 OIE report on 2 Nigerian outbreaks

May 13 Avian Flu Diary post

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