Pheasant Hatchery and Backyard Flock Hit by Bird Flu Outbreak

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has reported two confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Cerro Gordo and Kossuth counties, adding to the ongoing outbreak in Iowa this fall.

The rate of avian flu detections has tripled compared to last year, although the overall number of infected birds is lower. The most recent detections were in a game bird hatchery in Kossuth County and a mixed-species backyard flock in Cerro Gordo County.

The highly contagious virus, often spread by migrating birds, has led to the destruction of entire flocks to prevent further spread.

While last year saw 11 total detections in Iowa flocks, this fall has already seen 13, with fewer large chicken or turkey sites affected. However, the majority of affected birds in 2022 were from an egg-laying flock in Taylor County.

The trend of smaller backyard and game bird flocks being affected more this year than last remains unexplained.

Don McDowell, an IDALS spokesperson, emphasized the importance of biosecurity plans and keeping wild birds away from domestic birds to mitigate the risk of infection.

Previous virus detections have been reported in various locations and types of bird flocks, underscoring the widespread impact of the avian influenza outbreak.


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