Bird flu spreads across Europe
Avian influenza continues to be a serious challenge for poultry farmers across Europe. For the last two months, outbreaks have been reported in Poland, England, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy, the latest with an outbreak discovered in swans near Rome. In Hungary, 5,000 turkeys on a farm in the county of Bekes were killed at the beginning of this week due to an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus.
Two weeks ago more than 38,000 ducks were slaughtered on one farm, as well as around 500 geese on a second farm due to a bird flu outbreak in the southern Bacs-Kiskun region.
France also confirmed last week the existence of the virus on a poultry farm close to the Belgian border. The virus is being analysed by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. All birds at the affected farm in the northwestern town of Warhem will be killed and a 10-kilometer surveillance perimeter has been set up, with all movement of poultry prohibited in the area.
Part of the circumscribed area is in the Belgian province of West Flanders. Belgium's Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain today adopted additional measures for the towns of De Panne, Veurne, Alveringem and Poperinge. Poultry farmers and private owners must keep birds caged, and poultry shows and markets are prohibited.
Authorities in the UK also reported 5 outbreaks on commercial farms and bird-keepers across the kingdom have been ordered to move their flocks inside in order to prevent the spreading of the virus. Three outbreaks have been reported in the last 30 days by authorities in Ireland.
In Italy, Rome's largest park has been partially sealed off to the public after a swan died from a case of avian influenza, or bird flu. The news was announced on Monday night by the city's mayor Roberto Gualtieri who ordered the 10-day closure of the eastern part of Villa Pamphilj, in the area around the Giglio lake.
In Poland, more than 25 outbreaks have been reported by authorities in November and the industry may face another bad season due to restrictions imposed by countries outside the EU. Poland is also the largest poultry producer in the EU, with a market share of 19%.
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