4 million Iowa chickens being killed after bird flu detected at egg farm

More than 4 million chickens in Iowa have to be killed after the highly pathogenic bird flu was found at an egg farm, state officials announced Tuesday.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said the H5N1 bird flu virus was detected in a large, commercial flock of chickens in Sioux County in the state’s first case of bird flu this year.

An official with the department told The Hill the affected flock contains about 4.2 million chickens.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) subsequently signed a disaster proclamation for Sioux County that will remain in place through June 27, her office said. The proclamation allows state resources to be allocated with the tracking, detection, containment, disposal and disinfection of the virus.

The current bird flu outbreak began in 2022 and has primarily impacted the poultry industry, though its recent spread has started to infect dairy cattle in the U.S., as well.

Bird flu was first detected in dairy cows in March, though data for viral samples show it was circulating in cattle at least four months prior and prompted a drop in milk production.

More than 92 million birds have been killed since 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC has confirmed outbreaks in 67 herds in nine states, and as of Tuesday, the virus has been detected in more than 9,300 wild birds across 50 states.

There have been three bird flu cases detected in humans following bird and dairy exposure since 2022. The first was detected in Colorado in 2022, followed by a case in Texas last month and one in Michigan last week.

The most recent case in Michigan was detected in a farmworker who had mild symptoms and has since recovered, according to health officials.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.