Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Iowa egg, turkey farms will lose 50 million birds to bird flu

DES MOINES, Iowa ( Associated Press) – Bird flu has infected two more farms in Iowa, killing 5.3 million chickens and 88,000 turkeys, officials said Friday.

The new cases mean that across the country, farmers have had to kill about 22 million egg-laying chickens, 1.8 million broiler chickens, 1.9 million pullets and other commercial chickens, and 1.9 million turkeys. Iowa is responsible for many of those cases, with operations killing more than 18 million chickens and 305,000 turkeys since the outbreak began a month ago.

Iowa is the nation’s leading egg producer and had 46 million chickens on farms in February, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture. Iowa produces about 11.7 million turkeys annually.

The latest cases were from an egg farm in Osceola County and a turkey farm in Cherokee County, both in northwest Iowa. Earlier this week, state officials also confirmed the virus at a turkey farm with 35,500 birds in Buena Vista County.

Because the virus is so contagious and deadly to commercial poultry, entire flocks are destroyed and farms become manure when infected.

USDA data shows that 23 states have confirmed cases in commercial or backyard flocks.

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The spread of the disease is mainly attributed to droplets or nasal secretions of infected wild birds, such as ducks and geese, which can contaminate dust and soil. Infected wild birds have been found in at least 26 states, and the virus has been circulating in migratory waterfowl in Europe and Asia for nearly a year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said cases in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of avian influenza virus have been detected in the United States. It is safe to eat poultry products. Cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 F kills bacteria and viruses.

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