New deadly bird flu cases reported in Iowa, joining 3 other states as disease resurfaces

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. pathogenic / ˌpæθ əˈdʒɛn ɪk / (adj.) – relating to something that can cause diseases

    Being exposed to pathogenic bacteria can lead to various infections and diseases.

  2. poultry / ˈpoʊl tri / (n.) – birds, such as chicken and duck, that are raised on a farm to produce eggs and meat

    The farmer raises a variety of poultry on his farm, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys.

  3. outbreak / ˈaʊtˌbreɪk / (n.) – a sudden start of something, such as a disease, violence, or any dangerous or unpleasant event

    The hospital is well-prepared to handle any disease outbreaks.

  4. spike / spaɪk / (n.) – a sudden increase in the amount, price, or level of something

    The continuous use of air conditioning caused spikes in our electric bill.

  5. sporadic / spəˈræd ɪk / (adj.) – happening sometimes, but not in a regular or continuous manner

    His attendance at the club meetings was sporadic. He only showed up once in a while.


Read the text below.

Two commercial turkey farms in Iowa have been hit by the reemerging highly pathogenic bird flu, causing about 100,000 birds to be killed to prevent the disease from spreading.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture reported the infected commercial poultry flocks within weeks of a turkey farm in South Dakota and one in Utah reporting the first outbreaks in the U.S. since April, raising concerns that more would follow.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows 12 commercial flocks in South Dakota, Utah, and Minnesota have been affected in October, totaling more than 500,000 birds.

Bird flu last year cost U.S. poultry producers nearly 59 million birds across 47 states, including egg-laying chickens and turkeys and chickens raised for meat, making it the country’s deadliest outbreak ever, according to USDA figures. The outbreak caused spikes in egg and turkey prices for consumers and cost the government over $660 million.

Iowa was the hardest-hit state last year, with nearly 16 million birds lost, but there hadn’t been a case reported in the state since March. Iowa’s department reported on October 20 that one commercial turkey facility of about 50,000 birds in Buena Vista County was affected. Another facility of about 47,500 turkeys in neighboring Pocahontas County was confirmed on October 23.

In Guthrie County, about 50 backyard birds were also infected, the department said.

Before October, the only reports of bird flu in recent months in the U.S. were sporadic appearances in backyard flocks or among wild birds such as ducks, geese, and eagles. While wild birds often show no symptoms of avian influenza, infections in them are a concern to the poultry industry as migration season gets underway. Migrating birds can spread the disease to vulnerable commercial flocks.

Bird flu infections are relatively rare in humans and aren’t considered a food safety risk. But as it hits other species, including some mammals, scientists fear the virus could evolve to spread more easily among people.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • According to the article, bird flu infections are rare in humans and aren’t considered a food safety risk. Given this information, how would your poultry consumption change if there was a bird flu outbreak in your country (ex. I would stop buying poultry products, nothing would change)? Discuss.
  • How strict are you about the food products you purchase? What do you consider when buying them (ex. health benefits, expiration date)? What practices do you do to make sure that what you buy meets your standards (ex. do research about food, carefully read labels)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you think businesses can prevent the negative effects of seasonal crises such as bird flu outbreaks, or is it simply a risk they have to accept? Why? Discuss.
  • What kind of food crises or issues have you experienced (ex. food shortages, diseases)? How did you handle this situation? Discuss.