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Friday, May 1

Iowa governor declares state of emergency about avian flu outbreak among poultry

"Nationally, producers are having to kill more than 21 million turkeys and chickens because of the virus."

So far, no transmission to humans and no reassortment of the virus that would make it transmissable. 

The Des Moines Register
8:38 p.m. EDT May 1, 2015
USA Today with AP reports

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad declared a state of emergency Friday to battle the rising toll that bird flu is taking on the state's poultry industry.

"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. "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 sites spanning 10 Iowa counties have cases that are presumed or confirmed positive for avian influenza. The counties include: Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Kossuth, Madison, O'Brien, Osceola, Pocahontas, Sac and Sioux.

The Iowa Agriculture Department announced four more bird flu cases Friday, including at a chicken operation with an estimated 1 million birds in Madison County and three turkey farms in Sac, Pocahontas and Cherokee counties.

Once the virus is found at a site, all birds must be killed to prevent spread of the disease.

Nationally, producers are having to kill more than 21 million turkeys and chickens because of the virus.

"This disease is having a far reaching impact and, unfortunately, it has continued to spread," Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said.

The disaster proclamation is effective immediately and will continue until May 31, unless terminated or extended by the governor.

It includes:

• Activating the disaster response and recovery portions of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department's Iowa Emergency Response Plan.

• Authorizing the deployment of state resources, supplies, equipment and materials deemed necessary by Northey to monitor the virus, detect new cases, contain the spread and lessen the risk of disease.

• Temporarily authorizing state agencies, local law enforcement agencies and private contractors to remove and dispose of live animals and animal carcasses on publicly or privately owned land when they threaten public health or safety.

• Authorizing those agencies to implement movement and loading restrictions and other control zone measures, including buffer zones, checkpoints and cleaning and disinfecting operations at checkpoints and borders surrounding any quarantine areas to stop the spread of this contagious disease.

• Authorizing state agencies to assist in disinfection, depopulation and livestock carcass disposal efforts.

• Temporarily waiving restrictions to allow for timely and efficient disposal of poultry carcasses.

• Temporarily suspending regulatory provisions for commercial vehicle drivers hauling poultry carcasses infected avian influenza.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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