Bird flu outbreak in U.S. state prompts emergency

May 01, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
Indian health workers carry dead chickens in bags after a culling operation at Venkateshwara Hatcheries in Thoroor village in Ranga Reddy district, some 55 kilometers from Hyderabad on April 15, 2015.

A rapidly expanding outbreak of bird flu in the state of Iowa has prompted the state's governor to announce a state of emergency. Four new poultry farms have just reported cases of the virus. Reuters reports:

Iowa, the top egg-producing state in the United States, is the third state to declare a state of emergency because of the viral outbreak, which either has led or will lead to the extermination of up to 21 million chickens and turkeys nationwide.
Minnesota and Wisconsin declared states of emergency in April.
Iowa's state of emergency is effective immediately now and will be in force until at least the end of May, depending on developments in the outbreak, Branstad told a news conference.
The measure expands the efforts of the state's emergency response plan, and authorizes various state entities access to additional resources, supplies and equipment to track and contain the influenza outbreak. It also allows for the removal and disposal of infected animals on either public or private lands and lifts weight restrictions on trucks hauling culled flocks, among other things.
The rapid escalation this week of a U.S. bird-flu outbreak is elevating fears that the deadly virus could linger for years, hobbling a poultry industry struggling to identify its causes.
The disease has led to the deaths of about 7.1 million birds in the past month, hitting farms the hardest in Minnesota, the nation’s top turkey producer and home to Hormel Foods Corp., the second-largest U.S. turkey processor. The virus surfaced dramatically this week in an Iowa egg-laying flock, striking a facility that housed 3.8 million hens.