Cases of avian flu break out across Europe
There has been a rapid increase in the number of avian flu cases that first began to appear in Europe in late October.
Last week, the first case of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu was detected in Sweden, Reuters reports.
H5N8 was confirmed in a wild bird in the Skane region of southern Sweden last week and further tests are being carried out on poultry from a farm near Helsingborg which have already been shown to have the H5 strain of the influenza virus.
Meanwhile, it is reported that around 190,000 ducks were destroyed across six Dutch bird farms over the weekend in response to the epidemic.
A first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed in France on 26 November
The action is the first cull by the Netherlands authorities as bird flu sweeps through northern Europe. The outbreaks of avian flu, primarily the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain, have also been reported in Denmark, Germany, Finland and France.
Wild ducks in France
The H5N8 strain of bird flu was detected in 20 wild ducks in northern France the country’s farm ministry said on Monday.
“A first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed on 26 November in the commune of Marck (Pas-de-Calais) in 20 wild ducks used as callers for waterfowl hunting,” it said in a statement.
Keep poultry flocks indoors or apply safety nets preventing contact with wild birds
The statement added that the latest outbreak did not affect domestic farms and that provided no new case was found, it should regain its international status of free of highly pathogenic avian flu.
Advice given to poultry farmers located in humid regions, where the risk of transmission is higher, is to keep poultry flocks indoors or apply safety nets preventing contact with wild birds.
The H5N8 virus has never been detected in humans, but it led to the culling of millions of farm birds in Asia, mainly South Korea, in 2014 before spreading to Europe.
Avian flu in Ireland
The last case of avian flu in Ireland was identified in 2012 when a mild form of the highly pathogenic H5 strain was detected in pheasants on a premises near Clonakilty, Co Cork.