Iowa's Department of Agriculture is mulling over new requirements for exhibitors at county fairs and livestock shows following a surge in avian flu cases detected in dairy cows. While no firm regulations have been implemented yet, the department is stressing the importance of vigilant herd monitoring after the virus was found in dairy farms in O’Brien and Sioux Counties. 

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Vaccines and other measures

In the absence of a vaccine, Iowa's producers are heavily reliant on bio-security measures to combat the avian flu strain, which has already claimed the lives of over 61 million birds. Jeremy Parsons, CEO of the Iowa State Fair, emphasized the centrality of agriculture and showcasing livestock to the fair experience, affirming their close coordination with the Iowa Department of Agriculture on matters of animal health. 

According to local animal health experts, cattle typically recover from the current virus within two weeks of displaying symptoms, often characterized by upper respiratory infections. Meanwhile, in Europe, a significant step is being taken to tackle the issue as the EU is set to sign a contract securing over 40 million doses of a preventative avian flu vaccine for 15 member countries. The initial shipments will be dispatched to Finland, with the agreement encompassing an option for an additional 40 million vaccines over a span of four years. 

This procurement, facilitated by the Commission's emergency health arm HERA, aims to prioritize those at highest risk of exposure to the virus, including poultry farm workers and veterinarians. Similar efforts are also underway in the United States, Canada, and Britain to secure preventative vaccine doses. 

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