Avian Flu sweeps through Iowa

The bird flu spreads through Iowa farms for the first time since 2015.


Chickens gather around their feed in a poultry farm.

Laney Prelle, Profiles Editor

Chores are expected on Iowa farms, but the Avian Flu is adding yet another chore to Iowa farmers’ responsibilities. Since the flu was detected in poultry farms in early April, farmers have had to kill over 24 million birds nationwide. This outbreak is the biggest since 2015 when over 50 million birds were put down. Iowa has been the hardest hit out of 24 states affected by the flu, accounting for 13.3 million chickens and turkeys being killed. 

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, wild birds in Iowa are also being infected by the flu. Signs of the sickness are being reported in waterfowl and raptors in Iowa, such as seizures, inability to fly, and overall weakness. Due to this, the state is discouraging the use of bird feeders and baths in residential areas. If someone encounters clusters of dead birds, especially of five or more, the state is asking them to call state conservation officers and biologists at 515-725-8200. 

The flu hasn’t been overtly transmitted to humans yet, but one inmate in Colorado tested positive for bird flu. The unnamed inmate was working on a farm in Colorado to help exterminate birds when he later reported symptoms of the flu. The flu manifests in humans with symptoms of cough, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.