Bird flu cases prompt Iowa to limit movement of live birds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa agriculture official on Thursday limited the movement of live birds in the state as a response to a return of bird flu with the fall migration of wild birds.

State Veterinarian Jeff Kaisand signed an order cancelling all events where live birds are brought together, including bird sales, auctions, swap meets and exhibitions. The order is effective for at least 30 days and will be in effect until 30 days have passed without a positive confirmation of bird flu in Iowa.

The most recent case in Iowa was reported Tuesday in Louisa County in a backyard flock of 20 birds. An egg laying farm was identified Nov. 6 in Wright County, where more than 1 million chickens had to be killed.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation of disaster emergency for the county to activate a disaster response and recovery program authorized by state law that allows state agencies to help with the response. That assistance includes limiting importation and movement of birds when necessary and assisting in the killing and disposal of infected flocks.

In 2022, bird flu has been detected in 17 commercial flocks and five backyard flocks in Iowa. More than 15 million birds in Iowa have been killed to stop the spread of the virus among chicken and turkey flocks.

Nationally, more than 50 million birds have been killed in 46 states.