Iowa declares state of emergency over avian flu


Reuters — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad declared a state of emergency on Friday due to a rapidly expanding avian flu outbreak.

State agriculture officials on Friday announced four more poultry farms — a million-bird commercial egg laying operation and three turkey farms — have initially tested positive for an H5 strain of the virus.

“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 in a statement issued by the governor’s office.

According to federal agriculture officials, four chicken farms in the state were confirmed Tuesday with a highly pathogenic strain of H5N2 avian flu. The affected farms ranged in flock size from 98,000 to 3.66 million birds. A turkey farm with a flock of 50,000 birds was confirmed with H5N2 Wednesday.

Stats officials on Thursday also announced probable cases of H5 infection at three commercial laying operations and two turkey farms. One of the laying operations alone has a flock estimated at 5.5 million birds.

Not counting the cases announced Friday, 17 Iowa farms have been confirmed or presumed infected since April 13.

Canada has blocked travellers’ cross-border imports of live birds, raw poultry, raw poultry products and eggs from Iowa, as well as commercial imports from specific quarantine zones in the state, since April 14.

Reporting for Reuters by P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago. Includes files from Network staff.

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