EU praises Dutch, UK avian flu response

17th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

The European Commission said Monday the response to an outbreak of avian flu in the Netherlands and Britain was satisfactory amid warnings that the disease could spread further.

"We can only praise the behaviour of the authorities of the two member states," said Enrico Brivio, a spokesman for the EU's executive, one day after the discovery of a highly contagious strain of influenza that is very dangerous to birds and can spread to humans.

Dutch officials were on Monday scouring poultry farms and in the process destroying around 150,000 birds in an urgent scramble to isolate the disease.

They also banned the transport of poultry nationwide.

A duck breeding farm in northern England was closed off on Monday after an outbreak of bird flu, although officials said the risk to public health was "very low".

An estimated 6,000 ducks on the farm will be culled and a 10-kilometre (six-mile) restriction zone has been put around the site near Driffield in Yorkshire.

"We are reviewing the measures taken by the national authorities, and for the moment, we consider them adequate, both the measures taken by the Dutch authorities and the ones taken by the British authorities," Brivio said.

The European Commission will make a formal decision on the measures taken in the afternoon Thursday and review the situation next Thursday.

Brivio said a bird flu outbreak also occurred two weeks ago in Germany but that "adequate measures" had been taken and the "situation actually is normal" there.

EU sources added the German outbreak occurred in a turkey farm.

An EU source told reporters that it is "most likely the same strain in all three places," the Netherlands, Britain and Germany.

The source said "more outbreaks would not be surprising" in countries such as France, Spain and Italy as the "disease might have come from swans migrating from north to south.

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© 2014 AFP

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