Iowa Officials Report Two New Bird Flu Outbreaks

by Shelby Scott
Photo by Md Manik/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic have almost entirely disappeared and many Americans have begun to live life in ways they had pre-pandemic. However, for birds across the U.S., things are far from normal. Most recently, Iowa officials reported two new avian flu outbreaks which required the culling of more than 1.5 million birds.

What to Know:

  • Avian flu outbreaks among private and commercial flocks have been identified in 17 U.S. states.
  • 25 states have recorded outbreaks of avian flu in wild birds.
  • The U.S. poultry industry has killed more than 16 million birds since January.
  • Scientists believe the virus to have spread from migratory flocks.

Iowa’s Latest Outbreaks Require More than 1.5 Million Bird Killings

According to the AP, Tuesday saw officials in Iowa announce two more bird flu outbreaks in flocks across the state. One of the outbreaks was located in Guthrie County, 60 miles west of Des Moines. There, an egg-laying farm will see the culling of 1.5 million chickens.

The second Iowa bird flu outbreak was located in Hamilton County, 65 miles north of Des Moines. There, agriculturalists will be forced to kill 28,000 turkeys.

Once dispatched, the birds typically get buried in a compost pit on the affected farm.

The avian flu outbreak has both commercial and private agriculturalists across the country worried, working to protect their flocks. Unfortunately, Iowa State Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Kaisand believes the infections have originated from migratory wild birds.

Even worse, managing the spread of the outbreak will become difficult throughout the spring as flocks will travel across the U.S. throughout the next several months.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary, Mike Naig, said the conclusion of the outbreak will depend on weather conditions in the U.S. throughout the spring season. That’s in addition to improved biosecurity on farms.

Avian Flu Outbreak to Potentially See Further Poultry Price Surges

While farmers across the U.S. continue to lose profit from culled flocks, Americans as a whole could potentially suffer as a result of the outbreaks. Naig said with supply chain issues and record inflation, Americans are already seeing surges in the price of chicken, beef, etc.

However, if the avian flu outbreak continues to decimate commercial flocks across the U.S., it could potentially see grocery store prices surge even higher. Increased prices could affect egg prices as well as the price of meat.

“It’s a difficult time for poultry producers,” Naig said, “not just those that have an infected site.”

The current avian flu outbreak has resulted in the deaths of 15.6 million chickens and 1.3 million turkeys since January 1st. The worst in America took place in 2015, when agriculturalists saw the loss of more than 50 million birds. The outlet reports economic loss for that year hit $3.3. billion.