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More than 5 million chickens in Iowa are expected to be killed due to bird flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Bird flu has infected two more farms in Iowa, killing 5.3 million hens and 88,000 turkeys, officials said Friday.

The new cases mean that across the country, farmers had to kill an estimated 22 million laying hens, 1.8 million broiler chickens, 1.9 million pullets and other commercial chickens and 1.9 million turkeys. Iowa accounts for many of those cases, with operations expected to kill more than 18 million chickens and 305,000 turkeys since the outbreaks began a month ago.

Iowa is the nation’s top egg producer and had 46 million chickens on farms in February, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture. Iowa raises about 11.7 million turkeys a year.

The latest cases occurred at an Osceola County egg farm and a Cherokee County turkey farm, both located in northwest Iowa. Earlier this week, state officials also confirmed the virus in a turkey farm with 35,500 birds in Buena Vista County.

USDA data shows 23 states have confirmed cases in commercial or backyard flocks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the cases in birds did not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of the bird flu virus have been detected in the United States. It remains safe to eat poultry products. Cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses.

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