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Iowa reports its first bird flu outbreak this year at Sioux County farms

Iowa is reporting its first outbreak of bird flu this year, discovered Tuesday during a commercial egg-laying operation involving 4.2 million chickens in northwestern Iowa’s Sioux County, the Department of Agriculture said Tuesday.

It is also the first outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu in Iowa after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in March that the virus had crossed from poultry to cattle and was discovered in dairy herds in Texas and Kansas. It has since been found in cows in Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and South Dakota.

One person in Texas and another in Michigan, both of whom worked with infected cows, were diagnosed with bird flu, which has so far caused only mild symptoms in people and livestock. But the disease, transmitted by wild birds, can be devastating to poultry, and over the past two years a total of about 22.9 million flocks have been destroyed in commercial facilities and backyards to slow the spread of the disease in Iowa, the nation’s largest egg-laying region , to prevent. producer and seventh largest turkey producer, USDA data shows.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk to human health remains low and the Iowa Department of Agriculture says no dairy in the state has been infected with bird flu.

Iowa’s last bird flu detection before the last one occurred in a backyard flock in Mahaska County on December 19.

Eggs, dairy and beef in the United States remain safe to eat, state and federal officials say. Milk from infected cows is being diverted from the food supply, the Food and Drug Administration says. And the milk pasteurization process, used for the vast majority of milk, “kills harmful bacteria and viruses.”

The virus has been found in more than a dozen wild mammals, including brown, black and polar bears, bobcats, gray seals and bottlenose dolphins. In Iowa, the virus has been found in red foxes and Virginia opossums.

Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, environment and energy for the register. Reach her at [email protected] or 515-284-8457.

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