Eight Iowa facilities have now been infected with avian flu, bringing the total number of infected chicken and turkeys to 10 million. Most of the losses have been egg-laying hens.
Iowa poultry farms, on average, house an estimated 60 million egg-laying hens. Once bird flu is present in a flock, all chickens or turkeys must be euthanized to stop its spread. Poultry are very susceptible to the disease and mortality can reach 100% in some flocks. Typically, birds are humanly and quickly euthanized using carbon dioxide or a foam similar to what is used to suppress a fire.
This strain of avian influenza, H5N2 HPAI, is considered low risk to humans. There has never been a known human infection of this strain of avian flu. Additionally, there is no food safety concerns associated with the illness.
Avian flu is carried by migratory birds such as ducks, geese, swans and gulls. Infected Iowa counties include Buena Vista, Osceola, Sac, O’Brien and Sioux counties.