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article imageIowa governor Branstad declares state of emergency over bird flu

By Karen Graham     May 2, 2015 in Business
Des Moines - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on Friday declared a state of emergency, with over 17 million chickens and turkeys dead, dying, or scheduled to be euthanized because of the widening spread of the avian flu virus.
The issuing of the proclamation allows for the activation of disaster response and recovery procedures by the state's homeland security and emergency management personnel.
“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, as reported by RT News.
The emergency proclamation also authorizes the use of state resources, supplies, equipment, and materials to track and monitor the avian flu, as well as establish restrictions around infected farms and aid in the rapid detection of the virus in flocks. Iowa is now the third state to declare a state of emergency because of the avian flu.
As of today, about 27 percent of Iowa's 60 million egg-laying chickens have been affected by the H5N2 avian flu virus. The proclamation also allows the state to assist in the disposal of the poultry carcasses, an increasingly growing problem.
Iowa is the country's leading egg producer, providing one out of every five eggs eaten in the U.S. “This is a magnitude much greater than anything we’ve dealt with in recent modern times,” Governor Branstad said. Iowa is ninth in turkey production and has already lost 110,000 birds to the virus. So far, 21 farms in 10 counties across the state of Iowa have been affected by the avian flu virus.
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