A highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza continues to spread, with five more Iowa facilities reporting outbreaks on Monday. The number of infected birds has now risen to about 10 million at eight locations. Approximately 9.6 million laying hens (representing about 20% of Iowa’s laying hen population) have been impacted. Iowa is the nation’s largest producer of eggs.

As losses mount, consumers could see increased egg prices.

Donnelle Eller (@DonnelleE) reports for the Des Moines Register:

“If that moves through these large farms rapidly, it will have a heck of an impact on the state’s laying hens operation,” said David Swenson, an economist at Iowa State University. “It’s alarming. It’s obviously alarming. Any time you have to kill that many animals it’s a tragedy. Period.”

Chuck Abbott (@ChuckAbbott1) of Food and Environmental Reporting Network (@FERNnews) provides additional reporting about how the avian influenza is impacting U.S. poultry exports. More than four dozen countries around the world currently have full or partial bans on U.S. poultry.

“During a 45-minute telephone call, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asked his Chinese counterpart to scale back the ban on imports of U.S. poultry imposed because of avian influenza in the western half of the country. Agriculture Minister Han Changfu demurred, saying Chinese law required a full-country ban, Vilsack told the North American Agricultural Journalists. “They will have a team come to the United States in the summer” to see firsthand U.S. biosecurity controls designed to spot outbreaks and prevent them from spreading.”

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