HPAI strikes large Iowa complex
The USDA-APHIS announced on April 20th that H5N2 avian influenza virus was isolated from flocks at Sunrise Farm located near Harris, in Osceola County, Northwest Iowa.
According to a spokesperson for the owners, Sonstegard Foods, the farm houses 3.8 million hens although the official USDA release cited 5.3 million hens, probably representing the farm capacity.
The complex produces eggs which are broken in-line for liquid. With a nominal complement of 4 million hens the complex could produce 40 tons of raw product per day.
The USDA will commence depopulation and disposal of carcasses. This will be a laborious task as the magnitude of the situation represents "uncharted territory" for both the State and the Federal authorities. Recently, following an outbreak on a turkey farm, State Veterinarian, Dr David Schmitt, of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship commented on contingency plans and action to be taken in the event of infection in a commercial-scale farm.
Obviously other producers in a state with 53 million hens and an egg industry with $2 billion in annual sales value are tightening biosecurity. It remains to be seen whether other units have been infected and are currently incubating the H5N2 virus.
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