Iowa: Bird flu to claim 4 million more egg-laying chickens



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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The bird flu virus spread further Friday, as Iowa officials announced two more farms that hold a total of 4 million chickens tested positive for H5N2.

Since March, the virus has led to the loss of well over 30 million birds in 13 states. Minnesota and Wisconsin, two other states hit hard with the disease, reported no new bird flu cases Friday.

Iowa has 44 cases of bird flu in 12 counties. In Wright County in northern Iowa, the two farms saw an unusual number of chickens dying and sent samples for a preliminary test, which was positive for H5N2 virus. If confirmed, the 4 million birds will be euthanized and Iowa's chicken loss will approach 25 million — more than 40 percent of the state's egg-laying flock.

State officials on Friday also announced detection of the virus on five more turkey farms, but only provided a number for one farm — 42,000 birds. That raises the turkey losses in Iowa to more than 750,000 birds.

Officials in Franklin County, which is adjacent to Wright County, declared a pre-emptive emergency Friday despite not having any cases.

"We want to be as proactive as we can to prevent the spread of disease," emergency management coordinator Thomas Craighton said. "We are asking all residents to be 'good neighbors' and limit traffic near any poultry facilities."

Dallas County in Central Iowa also declared a state of emergency, which prohibits the transportation of poultry or poultry waste within a mile of a chicken or turkey farm. It allows officials to place barricades near poultry farms to keep traffic away.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David Pitt

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