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USDA: Deadly Bird Flu Virus Found in Iowa

The H5N2 outbreak that has been affecting the U.S. Midwest has been found in Iowa for the first time, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Although the department will not release the name of the operation, or its exact location, tests indicate that the deadly virus was found in a commercial turkey flock of 27,000 birds in Buena Vista County.

The facility and all surrounding poultry operations within a 10 kilometer radius will be quarantined, and government officials will be testing all commercial and backyard flocks within the area. The birds at the turkey operation where the virus was detected will be culled to prevent the spread of the disease.

Iowa is the ninth biggest turkey producing state in the U.S. with approximately 11 million birds, and is the country’s biggest egg producing state with 60 million laying hens. So far no disease has been detected at an Iowa egg production facility.

Randy Olson, chief executive of the Iowa Poultry Association says that the detection of H5N2 in Iowa is not only a concern for the poultry industry, but is a concern for the entire agriculture industry in the state, telling local news outlets, "Poultry is very important to the state, and the turkey industry and egg layers are major consumers of corn and soybeans."

Both scientists and government officials believe that the virus is being spread by the droppings of migratory birds in the Mississippi flyway where the disease has previously been found – making prevention all the more difficult.

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Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@highquestgroup.com.

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