Fears that German avian flu outbreak could spread

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

"Virus introduction into Germany via wild birds appears highly plausible"
"Virus introduction into Germany via wild birds appears highly plausible"

Related tags: Bird, Livestock, Poultry

Animal health experts are continuing to monitor the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 in Germany as the yearly migration of wild birds continues to cause concerns the condition might spread.

The North East German outbreak, in a turkey fattening unit in the district of Vorpommern-Greifswald, has seen more than 5,000 reported cases, with around 1,880 fatalities so far, and culling is now under way to contain the disease. Other disease control measures include 3km and 10km protection and surveillance zones.

So far, the cause of the outbreak is unknown, but UK veterinary experts at the Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency said: “In the absence of any other epidemiological explanation, virus introduction into Germany via wild birds appears highly plausible.”

It went onto say that as the outbreak has occurred during the season for wild bird migration, there was “an increased risk of incursion of any notifiable avian disease into the poultry sector through direct and indirect contact with wild birds and/or poor biosecurity”.

The report said the case in Germany posed an increase risk of disease spreading to other markets, including the UK, and it urged all poultry producers to maintain high standards of biosecurity and to remain vigilant for signs of disease.

Related topics: Meat

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