More bird flu found in Iowa

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Four more probable cases of deadly bird flu have been discovered in commercial poultry farms in northwestern Iowa.

The first infected flock was at a commercial turkey farm in Buena Vista County. Then, more than 5 million hens were to be euthanized after bird flu was found at a commercial egg-laying facility in Osceola County. The facility was quarantined and the birds had to be euthanized to prevent the spread of H5N2 avian influenza.

The disease is deadly to birds, but there is little to no risk for transmission to humans.

State authorities say there are four more probable cases of avian influenza, or bird flu, in commercial poultry farms in Osceola, O’Brien and Sioux counties. A pullet farm with about 250,000 birds tested positive for H5 avian influenza. Two commercial laying operations in O’Brien County, with a total of about 350,000 birds, experienced increased mortality in their flocks and initial testing indicated they also were positive for H5 avian influenza. A Sioux County commercial laying operation with an estimated 1.7 million birds also tested positive for H5 avian influenza after increased mortality in their flock.

“These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick,” said a statement from the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Whether you have a commercial or backyard flock, bird owners should practice good biosecurity and prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. Report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to the USDA by calling 1-866-536-7593.

“The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAIH5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected there is no food safety risk for consumers,” said the statement from the Iowa Department of Agriculture.