Bird Flu Hits Iowa: Largest Egg-Producing State In America Loses Millions Of Birds

Bird flu has hit Iowa farms with a vengeance. Approximately 5.3 million Iowa birds have been affected by the recent wave of avian flu, according to USDA statistics. Iowa is just the latest state to face a possible agricultural downfall due to the various strains of bird flu. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin also lost millions of birds to the virus, which could impact the cost of poultry for consumers.

The bird flu outbreak in Wisconsin caused the loss of “tens of thousands” of birds. The Wisconsin governor declared a state of emergency in an effort to garner aid for farmers. South Dakota farmers also lost thousands of birds due to a recent avian flu outbreak. In Minnesota, the toll was far greater, with approximately two millions birds being affected.

The birds afflicted with the avian flu will all be euthanized in order to protect other poultry flocks from becoming affected and increasing the negative impact on the United States poultry market. All of the farm equipment and facilities the infected birds came in contact with will reportedly be thoroughly disinfected to prevent the illness from spreading to healthy birds on farms, the USDA stated.

“CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks, and commercial poultry, to be low,” a USDA release maintained.

The Iowa bird flu outbreak hit one of the largest egg-laying facilities in America. The commercial egg-laying facility in Osceola County bird flu deaths reportedly “more than doubles” the number of poultry destroyed due to avian flu in the United States to date. The $2 billion commercial egg-laying agricultural industry in Iowa has been on “high alert” since bird flu cases started popping up already this spring.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said the Osceola County commercial poultry farm is one of the “bigger farms in the state.” Northey also noted that when a bird flu outbreak of this magnitude occurs, “you have to make sure the disease doesn’t leave.” Iowa is reportedly the largest egg-producing state in America. USDA statistics note that the 50 million hens in Iowa supply one in every five eggs eaten across the country.

“Anybody that has a poultry operation — whether large or small, whether you’ve got hundreds of birds or one bird — this should be a wake-up call,” Iowa Poultry Association Executive Director said Randy Olson,said.

The USDA has not released either the names nor the specific locations of the Iowa egg producers who have been affected by the bird flu. Operators or their locations haven’t been released. Before the USDA Iowa bird flu announcement this week, about 2.6 million birds had already been killed, either by the bird flu or agricultural authorities. The bird flu is reportedly capable of killing an entire flock of poultry within 48 hours.

[Image via: Shutterstock.com]