The partnership will allow  the university's Center for Food Security and Public Health to strengthen Al response.
AMES, Iowa – The Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State Univ. has received $1 million as part of a federal cooperative agreement to strengthen avian influenza (AI) preparedness.

The agreement includes the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the US Dept. of Agriculture and the Center for Food Security and Public Health which is part of the ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“An effective response to highly pathogenic avian influenza is essential to Iowa agriculture and the Iowa economy in general,” said James Roth, Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine.  “It’s imperative that plans and procedures, based on what we learned from the 2015 outbreak, are in place prior to the next outbreak.”

Biosecurity measures in place during the 2015 outbreak of avian influenza were lacking, Roth said, but new materials under development by the Center for Food Security and Public Health will emphasize biosecurity. Additionally, new guidelines will account for the potential for AI strains be transferable from animals to humans.

In Iowa, AI was confirmed at 77 sites, mostly turkey and egg production flocks, according the Iowa Dept. of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Approximately 31.5 million birds were affected in Iowa, while 48 million birds were impacted nationally.

“The economic impact in Iowa alone would be huge if an outbreak occurred,” Roth said. “Iowa has more at risk from foreign animal disease than any other state.”

The center currently is developing plans for potential outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, a highly contagious viral infection that affects cattle and swine. The Center for Food Security and Public Health has worked on highly pathogenic animal disease preparedness since 2008.