Germany culls poultry after bird flu outbreak

10th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 April 2006, HAMBURG - German authorities said Sunday they had completed a cull of 23,000 domestic fowl in the area hit by the country's first bird-flu outbreak at a commercial poultry farm and were moving on to the disinfection phase of the operation.

10 April 2006

HAMBURG - German authorities said Sunday they had completed a cull of 23,000 domestic fowl in the area hit by the country's first bird-flu outbreak at a commercial poultry farm and were moving on to the disinfection phase of the operation.

A spokesman for the state of Saxony said the farm at Wermsdorf and the slaughterhouse would be thoroughly cleansed of the H5N1 virus.

Scientists suspect wild birds spread the highly contagious avian influenza strain to the poultry, but are still checking that.

The outbreak was noticed Wednesday at a farm that kept 10,000 geese, turkeys and ducks. Birds were also ordered killed at 90 nearby sites as a precaution. Hundreds of wild birds and three domestic cats have died since H5N1 was first observed in Germany in February.

Although bird flu has now been confirmed in 45 countries on three continents, efforts to combat the disease on poultry farms "are slowly proving successful on many fronts," the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Thursday.

"To date, the virus has killed 108 people, all in Asia. More than 200 million birds have died from the virus or through culling in efforts to slow the spread of the disease," the FAO added.

Georg Alpers, a German academic psychologist, said Sunday research showed fewer phobias about bird flu than expected among Germans.

"We've had very few people suffering from great fear of it," said Alpers, who studies phobias at the University of Wuerzburg. "Most of those who are scared tell us they are generally phobic."

He said authorities should be careful not to spread panic, but should present the facts. "They have to be frank about the dangers. As soon as the public gets the feeling something is being covered up, obviously you get a lot more fear," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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