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Bird Flu Resurfaces in Iowa

Bird Flu Resurfaces in Iowa

By Andi Anderson

Highly pathogenic bird flu has made a troubling return, with two commercial turkey farms in Iowa falling victim to the disease. As a precaution, about 100,000 birds have been culled to prevent further spread.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture's report follows the recent outbreaks in South Dakota and Utah, marking the first occurrences of the disease in the United States since April. This worrisome development has raised concerns of a potential resurgence.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has noted that, in October, 12 commercial flocks in South Dakota, Utah, and Minnesota have been affected, resulting in the loss of more than 500,000 birds. Last year, the bird flu outbreak took a heavy toll on U.S. poultry producers, leading to the loss of nearly 59 million birds across 47 states. This included egg-laying chickens, turkeys, and chickens raised for meat, making it the deadliest outbreak in the country's history. The economic impact was substantial, causing spikes in egg and turkey prices for consumers and costing the government over $660 million.

Iowa, which was severely affected last year, with nearly 16 million birds lost, had not reported any cases in the state since March. However, last week, Iowa's Department of Agriculture confirmed cases in the state. The report included a commercial turkey facility of approximately 50,000 birds in Buena Vista County and another facility with around 47,500 turkeys in neighboring Pocahontas County. Additionally, about 50 backyard birds in Guthrie County were also infected.

Before these recent outbreaks, the United States had only observed sporadic appearances of bird flu in backyard flocks and wild birds, such as ducks, geese, and eagles. Wild birds, although often asymptomatic carriers of avian influenza, pose a significant concern to the poultry industry, especially as migration season begins. Migrating birds can potentially spread the disease to vulnerable commercial flocks.

While bird flu infections in humans are relatively rare and not considered a food safety risk, there is concern among scientists that the virus could evolve to become more transmissible to people. Cambodia, for example, recently reported its third human death from bird flu this year, indicating the ongoing global concern surrounding the disease.

The resurgence of bird flu in Iowa serves as a stark reminder of the potential threats to both the poultry industry and public health, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures and monitoring.


Photo Credit: gettyimages-semakokal

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Categories: Iowa, Livestock, Poultry

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