Bird flu infects 1 million chickens on Iowa egg farm

Chickens walk on a fenced pasture on an organic farm in Iowa on October 21, 2015. Another commercial egg farm in the state has contracted bird flu, Iowa agriculture officials said Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, the first case detected on a commercial farm since a turkey farm was infected in April . The latest case is in Wright County in north-central Iowa, which has about 1.1 million chickens. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Des Moines, Iowa (AP) — Another commercial egg farm in the state has contracted bird flu, the first case since a turkey farm was infected in April, Iowa agriculture officials said Monday. Commercial Farm Cases.

The latest case is in Wright County in north-central Iowa, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Des Moines, home to about 1.1 million chickens.

Fifteen commercial farms in Iowa have been infected this year, including turkeys, laying hens and other chickens. In addition, five backyard flocks have been infected. Because the virus is highly contagious, all birds on infected farms are killed and treated to avoid the spread of the disease.

Before the latest farm was found to be infected, Iowa had the worst bird loss this year, more than 13.3 million.

More than 47.7 million poultry in 43 states were affected, including 251 commercial flocks and 328 backyard flocks, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Most of the cases in Iowa occurred during the spring migration of wild birds in March and April, with one reported in early May. The virus was not detected again until a flock of chickens in a backyard became infected on October 20, and then the latest infection was confirmed on Monday.

Federal and state agriculture officials have been concerned that it could return with the fall migration of wild birds, which often carry the virus but do not get sick from it. The virus can be spread through the feces or snot of infected birds, which can contaminate dust and soil.

“We have been preparing for the possibility of more outbreaks and working closely with USDA and producers to eradicate this disease from our state,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. We continue to emphasize the need for strict biosecurity around poultry farms and backyard flocks to help prevent and limit the spread of this devastating virus.”

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