Farmers must kill 4.2 million chickens after bird flu outbreak at Iowa egg farm

DES MOINES, Iowa — More than 4 million chickens will have to be culled after a case of highly pathogenic bird flu was detected at a large egg farm in Iowa, the state announced Tuesday.

A culling of 4.2 million chickens is underway after the disease was detected at a farm in Sioux County, Iowa, the latest in an outbreak spanning several years that is now also affecting dairy cattle. Last week, the virus was confirmed at an egg farm west of Minneapolis, Minnesota, leading to the culling of about 1.4 million chickens.

Overall, 92.34 million birds have been killed since the outbreak began in 2022, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Although bird flu has become somewhat common in poultry, its spread to cattle has raised concerns about the disease. In May, a second dairy farmworker was diagnosed with bird flu, and the virus has been found in both beef and milk. It has been confirmed on dairy cattle farms in nine states.

Health and agriculture officials have said the risk to the public is low. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said not a single sick dairy cow's meat is allowed to enter the nation's food supply and that beef is safe to eat.

Workers who come into contact with infected animals are at highest risk. The only three human cases confirmed in the United States involve two dairy workers and a person who worked on a poultry farm slaughtering infected birds.

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