Millions more birds infected with avian flu, 20 MILLION total, in Iowa, USA
Three more avian influenza outbreaks were reported Tuesday, including two turkey farms in Buena Vista County and an egg-laying facility in Sioux County.
That pushes to 28 the total number of outbreaks in Iowa, the state Department of Agriculture said. About 20 million infected birds are slated to be destroyed, given updated state data.
About 19.5 million of the birds are laying hens and about 500,000, turkeys.
Iowa is the largest egg-producing state in the nation, with about 60 million laying hens.
The state agriculture department was unable to provide an estimate on the number of turkeys infected in Buena Vista County. It said about 60,000 laying hens are believed infected in Sioux County.
Additional tests are pending for the flocks at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames.
Rose Acre Farms said Tuesday it’s depopulating its Winterset egg-laying operation after the virus was discovered last week. An estimated 1.5 million birds will be destroyed “to combat the risk of spreading avian influenza to other locations,” said Tony Wesner, Rose Acre Farms’ chief operating officer.
The Indiana-based company said it’s closely monitoring all its facilities, but no other operations have been infected.
State and federal health officials have stressed that they consider the risk to people from the virus to be low. No human infections with the virus have been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.
In addition to Buena Vista and Sioux counties, infected operations have been identified in Cherokee, Clay, Kossuth, Madison, O’Brien, Osceola, Pocahontas, Sac and Wright counties.
Commercial and backyard flocks within 6.2 miles of the infected flocks will be quarantined and tested.
The virus is believed to be spread by migratory birds such as ducks and geese that leave their droppings on farms. Some have speculated that farm workers are unknowingly transporting bird flu, or it is spreading on dust or bird feathers blown by the wind.