Bird-flu found in frozen ducks - were any eaten?

11th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 September 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Ducks infected with the H5N1 bird-flu virus might have been eaten by unsuspecting Germans, but would not have infected anyone once the meat was roasted, a state health official said Monday.

11 September 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Ducks infected with the H5N1 bird-flu virus might have been eaten by unsuspecting Germans, but would not have infected anyone once the meat was roasted, a state health official said Monday.

He spoke after more than a third of a million ducks had been slaughtered at poultry farms and incinerated to curb an outbreak of the disease 140 kilometres north of Munich, in Germany's Bavaria state.

H5N1 avian influenza had been found in 18 deep-frozen ducks set aside as batch samples at a poultry-company slaughterhouse.

In Germany's biggest-ever animal-health cull, a total of 365,000 ducks were being destroyed in the small towns of Wachenroth and Schwandorf. The killing was set to be completed by Monday night.

Asked if infected meat from the Wachenroth butchery could have reached shops, Roland Eichhorn of the Bavarian consumer affairs ministry said, "We can't completely exclude that."

But he said that commerce officials moved after the first sign of the outbreak and impounded all meat produced at the farms on or after July 30. Federal animal-health scientists believed the outbreak began August 1.

"This type of duck is casseroled, and then the meat poses no danger to the consumer," Eichhorn said.

Pro-animal groups voiced rage at the cull, and said poultry farms should be made illegal.

Water birds are especially susceptible to the H5N1 virus, which can be fatal to humans. The fight against its spread is driven by the fear that the virus could mutate and possibly cause massive loss of human life worldwide.

DPA

Subject: German news

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