Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has declared a state of emergency following the outbreak of avian influenza. “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,” said Branstad. “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.”
Officials report ten Iowa counties have confirmed cases. The counties include: Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Kossuth, Madison, O’Brien, Osceola, Pocahontas, Sac and Sioux.“Iowa’s poultry farms are an important part of our state’s agriculture industry. This disease is having a far reaching impact and, unfortunately, it has continued to spread” Branstad said.
Avian influenza is an infectious viral disease of birds, often causing no apparent signs of illness. The viruses can sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease. Some of these viruses have also been reported to cross the species barrier and cause disease or sub-clinical infections in humans and other mammals.
The governor’s plan to tackle the outbreak includes containing the spread through “depopulation, disinfection, and disposal of livestock carcasses.” The state of emergency will continue until May 31, 2015, unless sooner terminated or extended by the governor.