Bird Flu strain able to be passed to humans detected in Europe


A particular strain of bird flu, able to be passed to humans, has been found on a farm close to Amsterdam. This has prompted Dutch authorities to ban the transport of all poultry within the country.

Officials have stated that they are in the process of slaughtering all the birds, numbering 150000, at the poultry farm in Hekendorp where they identified the strain.

The government said that this variant of avian flu is extremely dangerous for bird life, and the disease can be passed on to humans from animals.

The variant has not been named and is particularly dangerous for all birds and can prove fatal for chickens.

Earlier outbreaks of this type of flu in Asia and Europe have been extremely contagious and infected humans. This prompted fears that bird flu outbreaks could result in a major epidemic.

The ban imposed by the Dutch government including the transport of all poultry products, including used straw, manure and eggs from and to all poultry farms within the country. This ban will remain effective for 30 days for the 16 poultry farms placed within a 10-kilometer radius of where the outbreak started. All the farms will be subject to improved security measures for visitors and will regularly be checked for any signs of the flu.

Earlier during this month, a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, H5N8, was detected in Germany. This particular strain has been found in Asia, but has not previously been reported within Europe.

In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that it has confirmed one case of the virus at a farm based in Nafferton in East Yorkshire.

They insist that the risk to public health is ‘very low’ and confirmed that they are in the process of culling all poultry at the affected farm.

Nigel Gibbens, the chief veterinary officer, said their focus was the protection of the wild bird population. He said the outbreak in Britain is being linked to the outbreaks in Germany and the Netherlands.

Image Credit: Ella Mullins


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