Measures to control the worst bird flu outbreak in U.S. history are not being enforced at several farms at its epicenter in northwestern Iowa, potentially increasing the risks that the disease could spread further, spot checks by Reuters show. In visits to six affected sites in Iowa last week, a Reuters reporter found procedures at three in Sioux County did not comply with USDA or state protocols for restricting access to infected sites, providing protective gear to workers and cleaning the wheels of vehicles leaving the sites.
Burke Healey, the USDA’s national incident commander coordinating response to the bird flu, said he was concerned about the findings of lax biosecurity in Iowa after hearing about them from Reuters. Shortfalls in biosecurity can violate agreements signed by farm owners, he said. “If they’re allowing you to drive in and out of that property unrestricted, then that’s going against what we’ve requested of them and what they’ve agreed to do for us,” Healey said. FULL REPORT