Iowa confirms 18th case of avian flu this fall

Another confirmation of the contagious avian flu in Iowa — the 18th since October — was found in a backyard mixed-species flock in Mills County, agriculture officials said Wednesday.

Like the most recent report, most of the confirmations this fall in Iowa have been in mixed species backyard flocks or in relatively small poultry operations.

But two incidents, both in November, make up the majority of the birds in Iowa that have been euthanized to slow the spread of the virus — 1,121,100 chickens in Taylor County and 1,606,300 chickens in Sioux County, both at commercial egg layer operations.

Last year, the final confirmation of bird flu in the state was Dec. 12, 2022. There were two more in early 2023 — but then a seven-month break before the reports resumed in October. Ag officials believe that migrating wild birds are to blame for spreading the disease.

Since October, the bird flu has been confirmed in 13 of Iowa’s 99 counties: Buena Vista, Pocahontas, Guthrie, Clay, Hamilton, Kossuth, Taylor, Jones, Cerro Gordo, Benton, Sioux, Woodbury and Mills counties, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.