Grace Smith | October 11, 2022
The large number of birds migrating south for the winter may be transmitting avian influenza, a deadly virus caused by infection. Although it has not been confirmed, two dead wild geese in September and three ducks shot by hunters in August all had the bird flu in Iowa.
The bird flu dates back to 1878 which started in northern Italy and was referred to as the “fowl plague.” In the spring of 2022, the bird flu wiped out 22,851,072 birds in at least 24 states. The spring was the worst famine outbreak since 2015 when over 50 million birds died. The outbreak and inflation drove up prices for eggs, chicken meat, and other products.
“We are certainly aware of the cases showing up in other states and are monitoring the situation closely,” Don McDowell, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, said to the Iowa Capital Dispatch. “Because migration is beginning again and given that this is caused by migratory and wild birds, it would not be unexpected that there could be additional cases this fall.”
With over 450 birds expected to continue migrating south through the U.S., the most heightened intensities of migration are likely to come through the Midwest.