A highly contagious bird flu is quickly spreading across the United States. The flu has already hit massive farms, exposing millions of animals to the deadly virus. On Friday, Iowa state officials confirmed the presence of the virus at an Iowa egg-laying farm with more than 5 million chickens. This comes after another confirmation in Buena Vista County, about 160 miles northwest of Des Moines.
The earlier case was confirmed on a farm with 50,000 turkeys, while the latest case was on a farm with over 5.3 million chickens. Following the second confirmation, officials announced that the chickens would be culled to prevent the virus from spreading.
Across the U.S., several million chickens and turkeys have already been killed. The latest confirmed case means that at least 12.6 million chickens and turkeys from across eight states have been or will be killed soon.
Avian influenza spreads through droppings and nasal discharge of infected birds. The main spreaders of the virus are ducks and chickens, but infected wild birds have also been confirmed in over 24 states. Over the past year, the virus also spread in migrating waterfowl in Europe and Asia.
Currently, states with the most cases (such as Iowa) face the highest virus risk. Iowa’s first recorded case came on March 1, with the second case on March 10. While the first case affected just 42 ducks and geese, the second case was devastating. A farm with over 916,000 birds reported the virus in Iowa’s Taylor county.
Despite this, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has assured residents that the virus poses no immediate public health concern. So far, there are no reported cases of avian influenza in humans across the United States. Additionally, the CDC says that it is still safe to eat poultry products if cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Lead image via Pixabay