July 28, 2015 / 10:20 PM / 4 years ago

Iowa extends bird flu disaster proclamation through August

(Reuters) - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on Tuesday extended the state’s bird flu disaster proclamation by a month until Aug. 30, keeping in place a raft of state resources for poultry farms recovering from an outbreak of the disease, country’s worst-ever.

Without the extension, the disaster proclamation would have expired on July 31 even though a cleanup had not yet been completed, the governor’s office said in a release.

More than 48 million birds, mostly chickens and turkeys, have died from highly pathogenic avian influenza or been culled to control its spread since late last year.

Iowa, the country’s top egg-producing state, was the hardest hit with more than 31.7 million birds killed, although the outbreak has stalled with the warmer summer weather. The state has not had a confirmed case since mid-June.

The State of Disaster Emergency proclamation authorizes the deployment of state resources to deal with the outbreak, including setting up quarantine zones, culling birds and disinfecting farms. It also temporarily loosens some restrictions on disposal of dead birds.

Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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