Animals: Third bird flu outbreak within a short period of time

In Germany, the highly pathogenic bird flu broke out in at least three companies within a few days.

Animals: Third bird flu outbreak within a short period of time

In Germany, the highly pathogenic bird flu broke out in at least three companies within a few days. The responsible Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) upgraded the risk of the virus entering farms through wild birds from “moderate” to “high” in mid-November.

After cases became known in companies in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Lower Saxony on Wednesday, Thuringia also reported highly pathogenic bird flu (avian influenza) on Thursday. The Thuringian Ministry of Health in Erfurt said it broke out in a domestic poultry population in Greußen.

Before these outbreaks, the highly pathogenic bird flu last appeared in German companies in July, said FLI spokeswoman Elke Reinking. "So there was a kind of summer break here." Since mid-October, outbreaks in poultry, but also cases in wild birds, have been reported again in Europe. In Germany, at the beginning of November, an increasing number of dead wigeon ducks were found locally in the Wadden Sea National Park on the Schleswig-Holstein North Sea coast, in which the highly pathogenic virus (HPAI H5) was detected.

What about the Christmas goose?

“In poultry farms, animal parks and zoos, especially with free-range and free-range farming, prevention and biosecurity measures should be urgently checked and, if necessary, optimized,” writes the FLI. For example, contact opportunities between poultry and wild waterfowl should be minimized. Poultry staff should work exclusively on a single farm.

There will be Christmas geese, said Reinking. “However, it is worth considering slaughtering and freezing free-range geese and ducks a little earlier for the Christmas business if necessary,” she added, with a view to the risk of bird flu being introduced into livestock. According to Reinking, animals that have to be culled are not allowed to enter the food chain in accordance with legal requirements.

The FLI calls on the population not to touch dead wild birds and mammals but to report them to the veterinary authorities. Unnatural behavior in waterfowl such as uncoordinated head circling should also be reported.

In Greußen, Thuringia, one goose and ten ducks of the 147 animals on the farm died over the weekend, the Thuringian Ministry of Health reported. The chickens, on the other hand, showed no symptoms. According to the ministry, all animals in the population must be killed. A protection zone with a radius of three kilometers and a surveillance zone with a radius of ten kilometers will also be established.

Tens of thousands of turkeys killed

In the company in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, detection of bird flu led to the killing of tens of thousands of turkeys. A farm in the municipality of Lewitzrand with around 25,000 animals was affected, said a spokesman for the Ludwigslust-Parchim district. It is the second case this year in the company. In March 17,000 animals had to be killed. In Lower Saxony, a poultry farm with around 50 animals was affected, as the Cuxhaven district announced.

Bird flu has been appearing again and again in Germany for years; it is introduced and spread by wild birds. If a herd is infected with the highly contagious variant, all animals there are usually killed. People only become infected in very rare cases.