DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the bird flu virus has been found at a farm holding nearly 10 percent of Iowa’s egg-laying chickens.
The confirmation of the highly infectious and deadly H5N2 virus means up to 5.3 million hens must be destroyed at the farm in northwest Iowa’s Osceola County.
Iowa is home to roughly 59 million hens that lay nearly one in every five eggs consumed in the country.
It’s the first chicken farm in Iowa to be affected by the virus, which was confirmed at a turkey farm in the state last week.
Several Midwestern states have been affected by the outbreaks, costing poultry producers nearly 7.8 million birds since March.
The latest farm experienced a high number of chicken deaths and sent samples to labs.
In January, a Foster Farms turkey farm in Merced County in California’s Central Valley was quarantined after a different strain of avian flu was found in the flock. The H5N8 strain is not known to harm humans and the USDA said the affected birds would not enter the food system.
In February, that strain was also found at a chicken farm in nearby Kings County.
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency Monday following an outbreak of the deadly bird flu there.
Authorities stress there was no risk to public health and no danger to the food supply from the highly pathogenic H5N2 strain.
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