Speaking at a conference in Iowa on “lessons learned” about the virus US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack told delegates that up to $400 million has gone into clean-up and disinfection efforts in the 21 states hit by the bird flu.
According to the report, Iowa governor Terry Branstad told 300 conference attendees that Iowa had suffered “catastrophic losses”. He put this down to the outbreak that cut Iowa’s annual 16.5m egg production by 44% and hit turkey production by 11%.
He also was reported as saying that more than 400 workers have filed for state jobless insurance benefits since the bird flu arrived in Iowa last spring.
'Economic impact severe'
Branstad said: “The economic impact has been severe. It ripples through the economy.”
Meanwhile Vilsack said it would be a decision in each U.S. state whether to permit the use a vaccine as it might impact imports of poultry or eggs.
But Branstad said he felt further discussion would be needed with the US Department of Agriculture and with poultry industry officials and producers before deciding how to proceed.
There was a call for congress to implement a federal disaster program for poultry similar to what currently exists for livestock.