Speaking at a press conference at the Iowa State Fair, the state's agriculture secretary Bill Northey said enough time had elapsed since the last outbreak to remove the control zones. “We’re now distant enough from the last parts of that outbreak that we’re able, today, to release the last of those control zones,” he said.
A total of 71 poultry farms have been hit by bird flu in Iowa, in a national outbreak that has led to the death of more than 48 million birds in 12 states, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Iowa has slaughtered more than 31 million birds, including approximately 40% of the state’s 60 million laying hens, according to the Iowa Poultry Association.
Cleaning, disinfecting, testing
“We have 11 sites out of those 71 that have completed cleaning, disinfecting and testing and are eligible to be able to restock in their facilities,” Northey told reporters. “We have four that have restocked — one that has turkeys and three that have chickens in them — and we see that number growing significantly over the next few weeks.”
Other representatives from the poultry industry spoke about the difficulty of repopulating their empty barns because of the shortage of chicks.
There are fears bird flu may return to commercial flocks when wild birds start their annual migration in the autumn. The USDA is now planning to acquire vaccines and deliver them to poultry farms near an outbreak.