Austria: Avian influenza in the Leibnitz district


On January 23, 2023, the attending veterinarian of a pullet farm with around 2,600 animals located in the Leibnitz district reported to the responsible district authority that an increased number of deaths had occurred in this farm. The farm is located in a region that has been designated as an area with a significantly increased risk of avian influenza.

Posted on Jan 27 ,01:00

Austria: Avian influenza in the Leibnitz district

In order to exclude the suspicion of the presence of avian influenza, the official veterinarian immediately arranged for an examination of dead chickens at the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) in Mödling. Recently, AGES confirmed the presence of an infection with type A H5N1 avian influenza virus in the animals examined. Based on the evidence of avian influenza, the painless killing of the stock was ordered in accordance with the legal requirements and a protection zone within a radius of three kilometers and a surveillance zone within ten kilometers around the affected stock were defined. The measures taken can be lifted in the surveillance zone no earlier than 30 days and in the protection zone no earlier than 21 days after the cleaning and disinfection of the outbreak facility. Protection and surveillance zones are set up. There is no danger to humans. 

The district authorities of Leibnitz and Southeast Styria announce these zones as well as the measures and traffic restrictions applicable there by means of a blocking order. There are a total of 94 farms with around 24,431 poultry in the protection zone and 581 farms with around 60,018 poultry in the surveillance zone. All farms in the protection zone and ten percent of the farms in the surveillance zone must be inspected by an official veterinarian in the next few weeks. Until the zones are lifted (surveillance zone at the earliest 30 days and protection zone at the earliest 21 days after the cleaning and disinfection of the farm that broke out) all poultry farmers located there must keep their animals in the barn and may not house any poultry from outside the zones. Furthermore, strict biosecurity measures must be observed ( change of clothes and shoes before entering the herd) and suspicious signs of illness (increased deaths, severe loss of laying performance) must be reported immediately to the veterinary department of the locally responsible district authority. Avian influenza is an animal disease, there is no risk from eating eggs or poultry meat.

In view of the high risk of bird flu throughout Austria, authorities  appealed for more attention to compliance with the prescribed hygiene measures and for dead waterfowl and birds of prey to be reported immediately to the local official veterinarian.

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