Poultry lock-up to ward off bird flu

20th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

20 February 2006, BRUSSELS — All Belgian poultry owners will need to keep their birds indoors from 1 March in a nationwide bid to ward off the threat of the avian flu virus.

20 February 2006

BRUSSELS — All Belgian poultry owners will need to keep their birds indoors from 1 March in a nationwide bid to ward off the threat of the avian flu virus.

The federal government had earlier planned to impose a compulsory lock-up order for poultry farmers in designated risk environmental areas.

But confronted with the rapid spread of the bird flu virus across the European continent in the past week, the Belgian government decided on Monday to impose a nationwide lock-up order.

Currently, only professional poultry farmers close to nature reserves need to keep their birds inside. From 1 March, that measure was to be extended to hobby poultry farmers in sensitive areas where many wild birds congregate.

But Health Minister Rudy Demotte said at a press conference on Monday the lock-up order will be imposed nationwide, regardless of where a poultry farm is located.

The decision means Demotte has imposed stricter regulations than what the government's influenza advisory commission recommended.

The commission did not consider an expansion of the lock-up order was necessary, news agency Belga reported.

Meanwhile, the federal government is also taking various measures to inform the public about the threat of bird flu. An informative advertisement will appear in Wednesday's newspapers. More information can also be found at www.influenza.be.

Some 7 million anti-flu vaccines have been ordered to help prevent people from being infected with the bird flu and the normal flu at the same time. The vaccines offer no direct protection to the bird flu virus.

Meanwhile, Antwerp Zoo and animal park Planckendael are vaccinating this week 300 exotic birds to ward off a possible infection of the avian bird flu virus.

Planckendael will start the vaccination programme on Monday, while the Antwerp Zoo will carry out the vaccinations on Wednesday and Thursday.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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