President Bush will unveil the federal government’s latest plans to deal with a widespread outbreak of the flu today (Tuesday), and Iowa’s governor is asking the U.S.D.A. to start testing poultry flocks throughout the country as soon as possible.
Governor Tom Vilsack says surveillance and early detection will minimize the impact of Avian flu if it reaches U.S. poultry. The so-called flu could have a dramatic financial impact on Iowa agriculture, according to Vilsack.
Iowa is the top egg-producing state and ranks eighth among the states in turkey production. “It’s pretty clear that Iowans, obviously, could potentially be faced with this,” Vilsack says. Iowa public health officials held a news conference Tuesday to release some of the details of the state plan to deal with a widespread outbreak of a new strain of the flu.
Vilsack says that plan will be “amended and adjusted” as details of the federal plan are released. Vilsack says the feds cannot overlook the need to coordinate everything with state and local officials. “We learned a lot from the Katrina disaster that it takes every level of government operating in a cooperative fashion to respond to emergency situations,” Vilsack says.
The governor says preparing for a widespread flu outbreak is a matter of national security.