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Iowa officials and farmers concerned about 2022 bird flu cases

Five cases of the virus have been found in four counties across Iowa.

ANKENY, Iowa — After bird flu was identified in Buena Vista County, it took a lot to control the potential spread. 5.3 million chickens had to be killed due to worries about the virus.

At Griffieon Family Farms in Ankeny, seven generations of farmers have been raising animals. Currently, they have about 75 chickens in their henhouse. Over the years, they have dealt with multiple bird flu outbreaks.

"This will be our third one, and there's just not a lot you can do," said LaVon Griffieon.

Since March 1, Iowa has seen five cases of bird flu in the state. One was in Pottawattamie County, one was in Taylor County, one was in Warren County and two were in Buena Vista County.

The last major bird flu outbreak was in 2015. 

So what's different this time? Experts say, the source of the spread has changed.

"It appears that there's a large number of wild migratory birds that are carrying this virus," said Dr. Jeff Kaisand, State Veterinarian with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

RELATED: Here is how chicken and turkey farmers are trying to keep birds safe from flu

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Wild birds often don't show symptoms of bird flu when they have it, which makes it much easier to spread it to others, according to Kaisand. That means farmers like Griffieon have to keep vigilant.

"Our biggest concern is wild birds. And luckily, we don't have any trees after the derecho. And so we don't have to worry too much," Griffieon said.

So what should bird owners do? Officials say it's important to keep your birds from contacting wild birds. And if any birds do still end up getting sick, report that to the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Stewardship.

The CDC says recent bird flu cases are not a current health concern. No cases have been found in humans, and it's still safe to eat poultry products.

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