Iowa Governor Terry Branstad declared a state of emergency on Friday to confront a spiraling bird flu outbreak. The farming of chicken, ducks and geese as a key part of that state’s economy and has been severely impacted by the outbreak.
Millions of birds across the country have been infected by the highly contagious H5 avian flu in the most recent outbreak, which will result in the largest avian death toll in U.S. history according to Reuters.
“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.”
In Iowa, 21 sites have presumed or confirmed cases. Already over 5 million birds have been euthanized and then destroyed in efforts to curb the outbreak. Those efforts are likely to hasten given the new resources available.
There is currently no known cure for the disease.