Iowa State University students will not have access to live birds on the university’s poultry farm as a precaution to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
During the fall semester, students will instead be learning about the poultry industry through videos and textbooks. They will also work with egg and poultry companies to learn more about the industry. The university will also teach students about 2015 avian influenza outbreak as one of the current challenges facing poultry farmers and processors. The decision affects about 500 students.
From December 2014 to June 2015, nearly 48.1 million birds have been affected by avian influenza. No state has had more birds impacted by the virus than Iowa, which has had 31.7 million affected.
A recent study commissioned by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation estimated that avian influenza cost Iowa $427 million, and was responsible for the loss of about 8,500 jobs.
There have not been any new cases of avian influenza reported in Iowa – or the United States – since USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed on June 17 that a farm of 1 million layers in Wright County was hit by the virus. However, officials from APHIS are preparing for the return of avian influenza in the fall.