The unseasonable return of avian influenza or bird flu continues to wreak havoc on the US poultry industry. Iowa agriculture officials announced Monday that the first infection since April was detected at a large commercial egg-laying farm, AP News reported.
Iowa Department of Agriculture officials said the commercial farm with 1.1 million chickens in Wright County (central Iowa) just detected the highly contagious and deadly virus.
All chickens at the facility were culled and disposed of to avoid spreading the disease. Iowa has been hit hard by bird losses this year, with more than 13 million killed. On a national level, 47.7 million birds have been affected in 43 states.
Bird flu continues "to be a significant threat across the country," Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig told The Des Moines Register. He added:
"We have been preparing for the possibility of additional outbreaks," working closely with producers and the US Department of Agriculture.
"With migration ongoing, we continue to emphasize the need for strict biosecurity on poultry farms and around backyard flocks to help prevent and limit the spread of this destructive virus."
In late September, we noted there was concern that the fall migration of wild birds could spread the virus. That appears to be correct.
The culling of tens of millions of birds has dented national egg supplies, sending prices sky-high and above 2015 outbreak levels (last major bird flu) to about $3 per dozen at the supermarket.
Retail egg prices have doubled since August 2020, straining consumers' wallets as breakfast inflation soars. What used to be a cheap source of protein in the morning has become expensive.
Besides eggs, turkeys have also been impacted by bird flu, sending prices to record highs ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.