DES MOINES – Four poultry farms are eligible for repopulation after an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza led to massive bird culls across Iowa’s poultry industry.

The virus impacted a total of 77 premises which resulted in the loss of 34 million birds, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship reported. Among the affected premises were 35 commercial turkey flocks, 22 commercial egg production flocks, 13 pullet flocks, one breeding flock for a mail order hatchery and six backyard flocks.

All 77 affected premises have completed bird culls and disposal, the agency noted, while 16 sites have completed cleaning and disinfection activities. Four sites are now eligible for restocking birds.

To commemorate the Iowa poultry industry’s initial steps on the path to recovery, Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, will join other officials at Moline Farm near Manson, Iowa for a press conference on Aug. 10. Agriculture researchers confirmed the presence of HPAI H5N2 at the farm, initially identified as Calhoun 1, on May 29. Brad Moline, owner of the turkey farm, began restocking his barns on July 31. He has space for 28,800 brooder poults and 14,400 finisher turkeys.

Meanwhile, the department is in the process of lifting 69 of the 77 control zones established around the farms infected with H5N2. The department established a 10 km zone around each affected premise with a confirmed case of the virus. The department noted that the announcement does not affect the status of any farms with confirmed cases. Rather, it applies to sites that were not infected by within the 10 km control zone.

“There have been 18 counties with at least one control zone and now there will only be control zones remaining on six farms in three counties,” the department said in a news release. “These farms are located in Adair, Sioux and Wright counties.” Adair County had one confirmed case; Sioux County had 16 confirmed cases; and Wright County had six confirmed cases, according to US Department of Agriculture data.

The last detection of avian influenza was June 17. Since Dec. 19, 2014 USDA reported 223 detections which affected more than 48 million birds.