chickens
Several chicken and turkey breeder farms in Iowa have initially tested positive for bird flu.Reuters

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship reported a chicken broiler breeding farm has initially tested positive for the highly contagious H5N2 bird flu.

Officials said the facility, located in Kossuth County in Iowa houses an estimated 19,000 birds, Reuters reported.

According to The Associated Press, the deadly bird flu virus was also suspected on an additional Iowa chicken farm and two other turkey farms.

The other three facilities were located in Buena Vista County. The AP reported one of the turkey farms housed 50,000 birds. The count on the other turkey facility has not been completed.

The Buena Vista County chicken breeder farm counted 63,000 laying hens, the AP noted.

A US Department of Agriculture laboratory in Ames, Iowa will conduct additional tests to confirm the initial findings. According to the AP, the lab confirmed on 29 April that the deadly virus was present in farms in Sioux, O'Brien and Osceola counties. Nearly six million chickens are reportedly infected.

Reuters noted this is believed to be the first time bird flu has infected birds at a broiler breeding farm. Those types of breeding farms are known for their tight biosecurity systems.

Wright County, Iowa, has declared a state of emergency over the bird flu, KCCI reported. Authorities said that despite the flu not being reported in the country, they would like to take proactive and preventative approach to the avian flu.

"With the current widespread outbreak of the HPAI in north-west Iowa, and the potential severe economic impact such an outbreak could cause, we felt it necessary, as a board, to declare this state of emergency," said board of supervisor chairman Karl Helgevold.

Officials will ask the county engineer and sheriff to develop a plan to avoid the spread of the disease, according to KCCI. There an estimated 15 million birds in Wright County alone.

The new avian flu findings bring the number of Iowa birds that have been or will be euthanised up to 10 million.