Birdemic: Iowa becomes 3rd state to declare emergency over avian flu outbreak
At the time of Gov. Terry Branstad’s Friday press conference, 16 million egg-laying chickens had tested positive for bird flu. The state of emergency is effective immediately and will continue until May 31 unless terminated sooner or extended by the governor.
Chicken cull: 5.3mn hens to be slaughtered as huge bird flu outbreak reported in Iowa
Iowa officials started receiving notice about an outbreak of the virus beginning on April 21. The pathogen is highly contagious for turkeys, chickens and other poultry. While it’s not a threat to humans, it can lead to high costs over the loss of livestock and property, and quickly exhaust local emergency responses, according to Branstad.
“While the avian influenza outbreak does not pose a risk to humans, we are taking the matter very seriously and believe declaring a state of emergency is the best way to make all resources available,” Branstad said Friday.
“Even before the virus began in Iowa, our office was monitoring the outbreak in other states. We’ll continue our work – as we’ve been doing since the first outbreak in Buena Vista County – in hopes of stopping the virus’ aggressive spread throughout Iowa.”
So far, 21 poultry farms spanning 10 Iowa counties have reported cases of bird flu that are either presumed positives or confirmed positives. An estimated 16 million egg-laying chickens in the state have tested positive for the flu and will be culled – a number that represents a quarter of the state’s chicken population.