30,000 German birds to be culled due to bird flu

6th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 April 2006, BERLIN - Authorities on Thursday ordered a cull of domestic fowl in the area where Germany's first bird flu outbreak at a commercial poultry farm was recorded.

6 April 2006

BERLIN - Authorities on Thursday ordered a cull of domestic fowl in the area where Germany's first bird flu outbreak at a commercial poultry farm was recorded.

Some 90 farms were affected by the move, including the poultry breeding operation at Wermsdorf in the eastern state of Saxony where the dangerous H5N1 strain of the virus was found in turkeys on Wednesday.

Some 10,000 geese, turkeys and ducks were slaughtered at the Wermsdorf farm overnight and another 6,000 birds were due to meet the same fate during the course of Thursday.

Poultry stocks at another 90 farms in a three-kilometres exclusion zone imposed around the site were also ordered to be destroyed, a spokesman for the local crisis management team said.

In all a total of 30,000 birds were expected to be culled as a result of the outbreak.

As a precautionary move, officials also ordered a recall of 5 tons of poultry meat sent to butchers shops and supermarkets from the area over the past two weeks.

In Berlin, a national crisis team met to discuss further action, including a possible extension of the ban on domestic fowl being kept outdoors.

"It's important that we identify the source of the outbreak and take steps to pinpoint as many other farms as possible where an infection could occur," said Deputy Agriculture Minister Gert Lindemann.

The H5NI virus was confirmed by scientists at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute of animal health who said it was the highly pathogenic Asian variety which has killed more than 20 people this year, most of them in Asia.

It was the first case of bird flu at a commercial poultry farm in Germany, where hundreds of wild birds and three domestic cats have died since the disease struck in February on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen before spreading south.

Saxony had not been affected until Wednesday's outbreak.

Although it is not know to transmit between humans, researchers admit H5N1 may mutate into such a form, sparking a human pandemic.

DPA

Subject: German news

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