by Jared Strong
A highly transmissible avian influenza recently infected three Clay County duck farms and one chicken-breeding operation in Hamilton County, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
The Clay County game bird farms have a total of about 17,300 ducks, and one of the sites also has a mixed-species backyard flock of 21 birds. IDALS declined to reveal whether the sites are related or are in close proximity.
The Hamilton County flock has about 15,000 chickens.
The virus — which is often transmitted by wild, migrating birds and is lethal for domestic flocks — has been confirmed at eight sites this fall in Iowa. Entire flocks are culled to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Three of the previous virus detections this fall were in commercial turkey flocks in Buena Vista and Pocahontas counties. The fourth was a backyard flock in Guthrie County.
The eight sites had a total of about 145,000 birds.
Last year, the virus was discovered in 11 flocks in Iowa in October, November, and December, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those totaled about 2.5 million birds. Two of the flocks were egg-laying chickens and had more than 1 million birds apiece.
This fall, the virus detections have been more frequent but have affected far smaller flocks.
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